City gets ideas for Parker Street site

April 6, 2012
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The City held a brainstorming session March 10 to discuss proposed uses for plots of city-owned land in Roxbury and in Mission Hill between Parker and Terrace Street, which currently holds the Art Park and makeshift community gardens. Both the Roxbury and Mission Hill sites will be “green building” projects.

Residents of the area expressed their desire to see both Art Park and community gardens remain in one form or another when the site is redeveloped.

“We are so invested in this garden. We purchase water from a neighbor to water it. We would like to keep it,” said Francie Hauck, who lives on Hillside Street and gardens at the site.

Bob Jones from the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) had reassured residents on the subject earlier in the meeting.

“The City is committed to retaining the garden element and art element,” he said.

The site, which is made up of several parcels, is currently zoned for light industrial on the Terrace side and three-family residences on the Parker side.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and the DND will hold another community meeting April 11 at the Mission Church at 6:30 p.m. John Dalzell, a senior architect at BRA, said they will use the public feedback in developing the request for proposal (RFP), which they hope to issue in June.

“We received valuable first-hand knowledge from people who live right there,” Dalzell said about the March 10 meeting in a recent phone interview with the Gazette. “I think that is the invaluable part of that.”

Many ideas were batted around during the meeting at the Reggie Lewis Center, which about 60 people attended, including:

  • Have both residential and retail buildings.
  • Build a microbrewery on the site to retain the history and heritage of the area. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Mission Hill was populated with many breweries, especially along Stony Brook, according to the BRA.
  • Ensure that there is affordable housing.
  • Harvest rainwater for the community gardens.
  • Have an agribusiness to take advantage of the community garden.
  • Place green roofs on the building.

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