What’s Happening on Main Streets

May 17, 2013
By

By Richard Rouse/Special to the Gazette

What a difference a month makes. We have all been affected by the catastrophic events of Patriot’s Day, 2013. The Richard family, active volunteers for many years in the St. Mark’s Area Main Streets program in Dorchester, remains in Mission Hill’s thoughts and prayers after the death of son Martin in the marathon bombing. This senseless act of cowardice reinforced Boston reputation as an intimate nurturing community. Boston Main Streets, our parent organization, worked diligently in the day-to-day efforts of the City to assist businesses overwhelmed by the Boylston Street calamity. We are a small, livable city and each of us knows someone who was there that day. We are reminded that our first responders deserve every accolade they’ve received, and more.

This week the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation notified us that we exceeded the 10 performance standards and criteria required for reaccreditation. Mission Hill Main Streets could not have achieved this designation without the support of hundreds of unstinting local volunteers. Please allow me to thank a special group of neighbors for recently completing their terms on the Mission Hill Main Streets Board. Naser Othman, the lively owner of Il Mundo Pizzeria and former board treasurer, and The Crossing bar owner Sharon Driscoll have both been a joy to work with. We all appreciate Charlesbank resident and community activist Randy Shipp’s faithful service and generous nature. Northeastern University Vice-President John Tobin has been Johnnie-on-the-spot throughout his tenure with his no-nonsense, taking-charge style, completing any and all tasks. Special words of gratitude go to two former board presidents. Butterfly Café owner and unofficial mayor of Roxbury Crossing, Mash Abdirahman, whose kindness and positive enthusiasm is treasured by all. The other is Mission Hill native and former community liaison for the Harvard School of Public Health Bruce Smith, who recently retired. I miss consulting with that consummate gentleman on a daily basis.

Boston Shines, held on the April 26 and 27, brought out hundreds of folks for Mission Hill’s annual spring cleaning. Thanks to all and a big thumbs-up for MASCO’s generosity, the Public Works Department and Shaina Aubourg from the Mayor’s Office.

On Sat., June 22 from 2-5, the Mission Hill Health Movement will be showcasing handicapped-accessible improvements to its 1534 Tremont St. building. The elaborate rear entrance ramp/deck was designed and constructed with help from Wentworth faculty and students, and a grant to secure the indoor automatic elevator lift was arranged through Boston’s Office of Neighborhood Development. Our Main Street office enjoys the benefits of this increased accessibility and all the building tenants extend a warm welcome for the neighborhood to attend this celebration.

Mission Church’s Rev. Phil Dabney is no stranger to regular Boston Catholic Television viewers hosting his novena services. However, I have it on very good authority that he stole the show displaying his singing talent on the “Going My Way” program. Check BCTV broadcast times over the next few months to catch Father Phil’s crooning.

I attended my first mayoral “time” of the campaign season at the Mission Bar for Michael Ross on May 4, which featured an outstanding cast of Mission Hill shakers and movers. Some candidates running to replace Mike on the council—Rich Giordano, Michael Nichols and Greg Timilty—enthusiastically worked the crowd at what portends to be an exciting election epoch. I am in discussions with other Main Streets directors about the possibility of hosting a citywide mayoral debate geared specifically to issues related to small business. Local shops account for a major source of Boston’s jobs and tax revenues and contribute to the vitality of neighborhoods. I’ll keep you posted on how things develop.

Sometime in late June, Mission Hill Main Streets and the Community Alliance of Mission Hill plan to host a weekday evening neighborhood stroll to showcase our wonderful commercial district. Local business owners have told me they plan to show off their best products and offer special inducements. It should be fun.

Finally, congratulations to everyone at Brigham and Women’s Hospital on their 100th anniversary. Their buildings and the area will be adorned in blue-and-white “bling” throughout this year. I commend Steve Dempsey and John McGonagle for insuring that the Mission Hill neighborhood is being recognized for its important role in helping that world-class institution achieve the esteem it enjoys. Dozens of celebratory events are planned for the coming months.

The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.

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