This Month in JP History

 The following are the Gazette’s top headlines from this month in Jamaica Plain history:


“Martha Eliot Health Center to cut service to adults”

  The Martha Eliot Health Center (MEHC) at 75 Bickford St., which is run by Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), announced it would no longer care for adult patients in a letter to BCH’s staff, associated personnel and volunteers.

The change affected about 5,000 adult patients, according to Dr. Shari Nethersole, MEHC’s acting medical director. transferred the care of adult patients to other facilities in what was a months-long process that started immediately.

The focus on young patients is part of BCH changing its clinical services on “what it does best,” Nethersole said at the time. There are about 4,000 child and teen patients at MEHC, she said.

“After much deliberation, we have decided that we must focus Boston Children’s expertise and resources solely on providing patient care and developing community health and outreach programs for those we know best—the children and adolescents of the community,” said the letter from BCH Chief Executive Officer James Mandell and BCH Chief Operating Officer Sandra Fenwick.

The move drew criticism from the Bromley-Heath housing development, which is next door to the health center.

“Of course, I’m very, very upset,” said Mildred Hailey at the time. Hailey was the former executive director and founder of Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation (TMC), which ran the Bromley-Heath for 40 years before the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) took over last spring.


“Arborway transit process misses deadline”

The state Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) missed a deadline to complete a series of community meetings about public transit improvements in the Arborway corridor currently served by the Route 39 bus, in apparent violation of a 2006 lawsuit settlement.

“There will be a meeting on this in February,” said EOT spokesperson Adam Hurtubise at the time, adding that more information will be forthcoming.

The settlement agreement is between EOT and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), an environmental non-profit organization. CLF previously said it would consider resuming its lawsuit if the meetings do not occur. CLF staff attorney Carrie Russell sent the EOT a letter on Nov. 16 reminding it of the approaching deadline.

EOT oversees the MBTA, which in 1985 “temporarily” suspended Arborway trolley service and replaced it with the 39 bus. Trolley restoration was one of several transit projects EOT was required to complete as mitigations for the Big Dig under a previous CLF lawsuit. 

The state and the MBTA have attempted to get out of doing the restoration several times, but have repeatedly been ordered by environmental officials to complete it. Meanwhile, JP has become divided on the issue, and 39 bus ridership had fallen significantly at the time.


“Airplane noise a nuisance to residents”

JP residents showed up at Agassiz School on Jan. 14 out of frustration with repetitive airplane noise from Runway 27 that they said begins as early as 5:30 a.m. and extends late into the evening. 

Resident Martha Merson said at the time she is woken up regularly by a flight at 3 a.m.

Another resident said she recently bought a new home at the edge of Franklin Park. She said she expected peace and quiet, but what she got was the exhaust noise of one plane after another. “I totally thought I was losing my mind,” she said.

Runway 27 is one of four runways currently in use at Logan Airport. According to Massport officials at the time, the runway is used when the wind comes out of the west so that planes may take off into the wind. This leads to flights over eastern Jamaica Plain. 

The flight path crosses Boston Harbor then turns southeast at the World Trade Center to fly over the Southeast Expressway, Franklin Park, and Forest Hills and Mount Hope cemeteries. The path came after a 1987 lawsuit by a group of Jamaica Plain, South End and Brookline residents called the “Runway 27 Coalition” that mandated an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The coalition wanted to disperse the traffic over a broader area, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) claimed that was too difficult to do. Using demographic information from the EIS, the FAA chose a flight path that would affect the least number of people. It was put into effect in August, 1996.


“Residents take control” 

Residents of Stony Brook Gardens Cooperative gained control of the housing development. 

The cooperative was established five years ago by Urban Edge, a Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit that develops affordable housing. Urban Edge signed over the control on Dec. 13 as the cooperative finished self-management training. 

They underwent various kinds of training, such as “how to make a policy, how to understand financial management,” and maintenance, said Fran Price of Urban Edge at the time. 

The city, state, and federal government and the private sector funded through Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, Inc. over $6 million to build the 50-unit town house compound located between Chestnut Avenue and Mozart, Lamartine and Roy streets. 

Cooperative president David A. Johnson and a board of directors was expected to run cooperative in consultation with Urban Edge and follow the federal guidelines for the next 40 years. 


“Policing, neighborhood style

Suggestions made by residents” 

JP residents met on both sides of town to discuss community safety and police involvement. On the northeast side, in the wake of gang related violence at the Stony Brook T station, the Hyde Square Task Force met to discuss crime on the Orange Line. Over on Green Street more than 20 JP residents came together to discuss long-term plans for community safety.

Crime decreases and safety increases when citizens are involved in the safety procedures of their own community, said members of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Policing Task Force at its first meeting on January 20. 

To get more people involved in neighborhood policing, and to generate more ideas about what neighborhood policing means, Jamaica Plain residents were invited to discuss ways of moving beyond the perceived anonymous relationship police and community maintain, and develop a list of suggestions to share with the Boston Police Department and the rest of the community as they develop neighborhood policing strategies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.