Jamaica Pond Association discusses neighborhood updates

The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) met virtually on May 2, where it discussed several topics relating to returning to in-person meetings, as well as projects in the neighborhood.

RETURN TO IN-PERSON

JPA member Franklyn Salimbene spoke about when the group might consider returning to in-person meetings, and asked for feedback from other members about the idea. This is something a number of groups have been considering more than two years into the pandemic.

He said with a “number of institutions transitioning back to in person meetings, I would hate to think that we’d become a permanent television program.” He suggested September as a possible month to have in-person meetings again.

“I think that’s the ultimate goal—to come back to in-person meetings for a multitude of reasons,” said JPA chair Kay Mathew, “but I think that we also need to be aware of the need to meet in a safe space and I would not go back to Perkins St.” 

Before the pandemic, the JPA met at the Jamaicaway Tower & Townhouses on Perkins St. in the small community room. 

“It’s too small, and the ventilation is not that great,” Mathew said. “We’ve had meetings of as many as 40 people.”

JPA member Kevin Moloney said he agrees with Mathew. “The Jamaicaway Tower was a superspreader event in waiting,” he said. “We were all cramped together, elbow to elbow, and that’s not a healthy environment these days.”

Michael Reiskind, who is a member of several other community groups, including the Jamaica Plain Historical Society, said that the Historical Society met last summer in a backyard, though the group was only six or eight people. “We did meet during the winter in person,” he added.

He also said that more than 50 people attended the JP Centre/South Main Streets annual meeting at the First Church parish hall. “I think people felt comfortable in that large space,” he said. “It seemed to go pretty well; they even had food.”

JPA member Barry Schwartz said, “I like the idea of returning in-person,” and suggested the Emerald Necklace Conservancy space at the Curley Mansion  as a potential new meeting place. 

JPA member Peter Steiger wondered about the idea of offering both in-person and Zoom options to let as many people as possible participate in the JPA meetings. 

JPA member David Moir talked about various meeting spaces that could be potential options, including the First Baptist Church and the First Church. 

“I feel very strongly that these are important community spaces and if they cost a little money, that doesn’t matter,” he said, because he thinks it’s important for the JPA to support local  organizations.

JPA member Martin Thompson said that he thinks the group should “encourage masks” when they do meet in person again. 

Moir also suggested an open air space in the summer, such as Jamaica Pond, which seemed to be received well by others, and the group might consider doing that at least once this summer. 

The group will also return to the conversation of going back to in person meetings at the June JPA meeting.

JAMAICAWAY: INSTALLATION OF FOG LINES

“This is not a new subject for us,” said Kevin Moloney. “The only place that the fog lines don’t exist is Perkins St. and Eliot, both inbound and outbound.” He said they exist on Centre St., and on Pond Ave. in Brookline.

“I don’t think there’s an argument that the DCR can legitimately raise for not doing it,” Moloney said. He suggested the group send another letter to the DCR asking a crew to come paint the fog lines on the street. “It’s a maintenance item,” he said, adding that he would be willing to help draft the letter. 

The group also discussed issues with traffic on the Jamaicaway, with JPA member Michael Frank talking about his recent trip to Florida and how well he thought the roads were marked.

Kay Mathew said she is “going to pursue getting a DCR rep here at our meetings from now on,” and Lena Shapiro from Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz’s office said she can help with that.

MARKINGS FOR PARKING ON CENTRE ST.

Kevin Moloney discussed markings for parking at such streets as Orchard, Aldworth, Dunster, and Holbrook. Moloney said he would like to send a letter to Mayor Wu and the city’s Chief of Streets to “fix parking up tight to the intersection” on Centre St., as fire trucks are unable to get through with the way things are now.

Moloney also talked about reconstituting the JPA Centre Street Business Committee to talk about licensing issues on Centre St.

“I’d like us to be in a position where we could insist on having a say,” Moloney said, and are looking for volunteers to be on the committee.

PARKS, PARKWAYS, AND OPEN SPACE

JPA member Jamie Maguire talked about the Parks, Parkways, and Open Space Committee, saying that “I think the JPA needs to do something else, another letter or something for the Pathway Maintenance and Design Improvement. 

My’Kel McMillen from Councilor Lara’s office said he would be glad to assist with this and that the councilor needs to be involved. 

JAMAICA PLAIN 

NEIGHBORHOOD 

COUNCIL REPORT

JPA member Michael Reiskind, who is also on the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC), reported that the JPNC’s Public Service Committee “discussed their initiatives for the next two years.” He also said that there will be a discussion about banning space savers in Jamaica Plain, as well as bike issues around Perkins St., which is controlled by the DCR.

Reiskind said that the Housing & Development Committee continued “discussion of the Poor Clare Convent and its proposed demolition by the Poor Clare sisters and sale to the developer.” He said there was a discussion of whether or not the building has enough historical significance to prevent it from being razed. 

Reiskind also reported on the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association (JP BAPA), which supported the proposal for Pondside Pet Care to move across the street. He said they also discussed “cleanliness of the street,”and are “thinking of reconstituting the JP Shines committee,” an anti-litter committee.

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