What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Richard Rouse/Special to the Gazette

Liz and Joe Silva, owners of the Dunkin’ Donuts shop at Brigham Circle the past 19 years, opened a second shop at the corner of Parker and Tremont Streets. That valuable corner storefront has lingered vacant since the early 1980s after the legendary Donegal Tavern darkened its portal. In my opinion, a shuttered storefront is like a black eye on the face of a neighborhood. Makeup couldn’t hide the bruise on the corner of that business block, empty for so many years. Neighbors seem much happier that activity enlivens that busy intersection.  As someone known to succumb when tempted by baked delicacies, I can opine that Dunkies has their hands full in trying to compete with the homemade confectionary creations of Maria at Mike’s Donuts and Braden at Green T Coffeeshop. With Dunkin’ Donuts’ corporate advertising muscle, I’m sure the shop will be there for many years to come, and Mission Hill Main Streets congratulates and wishes the Silva family much success.

A new property management company started in the area, but the face of the business owner is one known to almost everyone on the Hill. Eric Alden grew up on Hillside Street and is known as the longtime manager of Circle Properties, but has decided to venture out on his own, founding Longwood Properties at 3 Darling St. “My business model is simple… Treat everyone as if you lived next door,” he states. I first came to know Eric because he is a fixture at nearly every community meeting and shares my intense hatred for graffiti. (A gentle giant of a man, I would hate to imagine what might happen if Eric ever encountered a “spray paint artist” illegally performing vandalism.) Alden truly loves Mission Hill and believes that if absentee landlords paid daily attention to keeping their buildings in order, as they would their own homes, there would be very little animosity. In addition to real estate investing, he hopes that neglectful owners should hire him to turn their places around. This, he believes, will be a successful business formula. Hopefully, Eric’s approach will do for Mission Hill what the automatic bread slicer did for the baking industry. This married father of two girls and product of the Boston Public Schools just might be on to something.

The mayoral candidate forum hosted by an assemblage of various Boston Main Street directors on Mon., Aug. 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Strand Theater in Dorchester looks to be a seminal event in local politics. All of the hopefuls have agreed to attend and explain their positions on job creation, local entrepreneurship and community investment to neighbors from all over Boston. Admission is free and the Strand seats 1,400, so heading to Uphams Corner that night promises to be an old fashioned throwback to those rallies at the G&G deli during James Michael Curley’s time. Candidates keep trying to out-campaign each other with signage and hoopla as primary day draws near. Who knows? Some might feel compelled to dress up like Indians and dump tea into Dorchester Bay. To learn more, check out mymainstreetmyboston.org or join the conversation at #MyMainSt.

Another Fitz entered the world on July 7, and proud parents Mike and Khajahl Fitzgerald have been handing out chocolate cigars throughout Mission Hill. Gavin Valipour Fitzgerald, nearly 8 pounds, has the beautiful Tricia Fitzgerald gushing about her new first grandchild, and her mom, the sassy Patsy MacDougall quipped, “Friends told me I’d be ‘great’ at something!” Somehow, I believe the late Kevin Fitz is smiling down on this, too.

Months ago I mentioned that Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin is often seen visiting Mission Church, and I’m told he has graciously agreed to be the Honorary Chairman of the first “Friends of the Poor Walk” to benefit the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society on Sept. 28. This 2.5 mile-stroll from Mission Church through Boston to the Holy Cross Cathedral in the South End is meant to raise awareness and funds to help our neighbors in need. All of the proceeds raised will remain in the community. Those St. Vinnie’s folks are some of finest human beings found anywhere, and I’ll be lacing up my Reeboks to join them that Saturday and I encourage everyone to join me in the effort. You can drop a donation off at the Mission Church or visit their website at svdpmissionchurch.org.

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

Dunkin’ Donuts owners Joe and Elizabeth Silva stand outside their new store at Tremont and Parker streets last week. (Photo by Richard Rouse)

Dunkin’ Donuts owners Joe and Elizabeth Silva stand outside their new store at Tremont and Parker streets last week. (Photo by Richard Rouse)

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