What’s Happening on Main Streets

July 11, 2014
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The torrential downpour on June 10 did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm or attendance at the Mission Hill Main Streets Awards Night at the Parkman House. The Beacon Hill mansion’s lavish setting was a perfect backdrop to venerate some of the wonderful people and institutions responsible for such a nifty neighborhood.

I think Senate President Therese Murray captured the special sense of Mission Hill when she described her growing up in the Mission Main, attending Mission Grammar School and spending countless hours a young girl at the Parker Hill Library and how it influenced her life’s calling to public service. Her voice actually cracked while describing her upbringing and colorful neighbors and friends on the “Hill.” Many in attendance were amazed at seeing this tender side of one of Massachusetts’ most powerful and historic figures.

The Outstanding Community Asset Award presented to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish was graciously accepted by Father Phil Dabney who, as usual, held the audience spellbound with his humorous stories that always contain a deeper lesson. (Where do you think he learned to speak like that?) The Community Preservation Prize was presented to Jason Savage for going above and beyond in restoring his properties to their historical elegance, color and distinction. The Kevin W. Fitzgerald Memorial “Friend to Mission Hill Award” was bestowed by our former representative’s widow Tricia, and sons, John and Michael, to Maria Weinograd, longtime owner of Mike’s Donuts. Michael Fitzgerald, a Main Streets Board member, spoke of how universally beloved Maria is by the entire neighborhood and extends her kindness and generosity to all. Maria’s husband Bruce beamed with pride as his beautiful bride humbly accepted her well-deserved kudos from everyone.

The program began with the irrepressible Main Streets Board President Dermot Doyne introducing the political notables like state Rep. Jeff Sánchez, City Councilor Josh Zakim, BRA Director Brian Golden and City Housing Chief Sheila Dillon, along with other distinguished attendees.

Guests delighted in the elegant repast that featured hors d’oeuvres masterpieces from the skilled hands of Matt Postal, owner Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta, who was a caterer in his previous career. The outstanding vintages were generously donated by Carnivor Cabernet Wines and the William Hill Estate Winery, and the friendly wait staff from the Mission Bar and Penguin Pizza gave the evening an elegant touch.

Annual “Great Neighbor” plaques were imparted to Jessica Casey from the Community Alliance of Mission Hill; Lydia Polanco of the Mission Hill Artists Collaborative; Andrus Cruz, the helpful hardware man who owns AC Hardware Store; Gazette columnist extraordinaire Maurice “Mossy” Martin; Parker Hill Branch Head Librarian Rebecca Manos; the always cheerful unofficial Mayor of Tremont Street Seth Burns; and City Hall Neighborhood Services Representative Shaina Aubourg rounded out the group of auspicious awardees.

The highly sought after “Golden Broom Award” and bragging rights for the “cleanest business in Mission Hill” was conferred upon Elizabeth and Joe Silveira, owners of our two Mission Hill Dunkin Donuts franchises.

Thanks to everyone who attended and helped make the event such a triumph. This year’s event will be hard to top—but we will!

Last month I spoke about Nick Guertin’s winning submission to the Boston Public Space Invitational Contest for streetscape benches for Huntington Avenue. Mission Hill Main Streets will be holding an open community meeting on Wed., July 16 at 1534 Tremont Street from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to discuss the matter with anyone who is interested. We’d like to get your input and recommendations and everyone is welcome to attend.

The long anticipated reconstruction of the intersection of St. Alphonsus and Calumet Streets is finally underway and moving quickly. The street redesign project was held up because of the major water pipe reconstruction that had to be performed throughout the Hill. It’ll be great to see those important rehabs accomplished.

On a literary note, I confess to being almost exclusively nonfiction in my book selections. (a lot of history and government). However, in the summer months I try to squeeze in a few novels just to break things up. I recently completed a neat little read by a Mission Hill native that incorporates politics and accurate slices of Boston and Irish history, set right here in the neighborhood. “The Rising at Roxbury Crossing” is a captivating whodunit written former Massachusetts State Trooper James Redfearn. This first novel is a page-turner that I think anyone would like and I give it a big thumbs-up, and hope the talented Mr. Redfearn keeps at it.

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

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