What’s Happening on Main Streets

With the chill in the air and the trees shedding their leaves, it won’t be long before the holidays are upon us. Mayor Marty Walsh has announced plans to continue the late Tom Menino’s traditional Trolley Tour and Tree Lighting in Brigham Circle on Sat., Dec. 6 at 3 p.m., which kicks off our local business holiday season in a festive way. Bring the kiddos out and meet the Big Guys (Walsh and Santa) and enjoy refreshments, donated by our local merchants that day, and begin your shopping by purchasing a gift certificate to one of our nearby businesses.

Such a present will benefit not only the receiver, but will strengthen the community overall in countless ways. Local stores employ your neighbors and create jobs and these people, in turn spend in the local economy. They support the tax base thereby paying for schools, fire and police services. These establishments improve public safety by increasing foot traffic. Out-of-town shops have done a good job convincing us that local business equals expensive. If you factor travel and transfer costs as well as your time, the overall cost is often much higher.

Neighborhood stores are for everyone and if they are lost, think how that affects the elderly, the poor and those without transportation. Local businesses support local charities, schools and community events. If you are into saving the planet, community shops often stock a high percentage of locally sourced goods which do not require long trucking journeys, helping reduce our global footprint. Did you purchase online last year with the promise that the item would be delivered in time, but it failed to arrive until after the holiday? I’m sorry for bringing back that unpleasant memory.

There are dozens of other reasons, but you get the idea. Keep this in mind as the holidays grow nigh, and please shop Mission Hill Main Streets.

This year’s Halloween on the Hill was even better than last year. Kudos goes out to Maggie Casey of the Mission Hill Youth Collaborative for another outstanding event. Maggie will be sorely missed when she moves on to a new job at year’s end. Let’s hope John Jackson at the Tobin Community Center finds another star to take her place!

The MFA, MassArt, MCPHS University RadScience Club, Wentworth Institute, Children’s Hospital, NE Baptist Hospital, Cindy Diggs and Reuben Jacobs all helped to make the day a hit. Local storefronts such as Mike’s Donuts, Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta, Mission Realty Advisors, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH), Santander Bank, Mission Hill Health Movement and Boston Green Realty featured costumed volunteers giving out treats to hundreds of monsters, princesses and vampires, and stamped the treasure maps for the little goblins to win raffle prizes.

Santander Bank Branch Manager Eric Rivas remarked, “When I grew up here we didn’t have anything this cool. I’m glad my wife brought our two daughters along…They’re lovin’ this!”

Once again, Jason Savage donated his soon to be developed lot next to the Tobin as the perfect site for the free pony rides. Maggie Cohn, Jim Farrow, Angel Pizzaro, Barry Twomey and Betty Commerford from the Heath Movement were on hand to pass out pumpkins and apples generously donated by our Farmers Market vendors.

I just walked by the former Clutch Works site under construction on Tremont Street, and I saw the Trellis Group installed new construction fence graphics with renderings of what the new project will look like when completed. This development will be beautiful and I’m sure that some new businesses will be competing to locate in the first-floor commercial spaces. I have no doubt that another dining establishment will be a hit in that handsome location. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Recently, a group of Northeastern students assisted me in planting over 800 additional daffodil bulbs along four locations on Tremont Street, complements of Mavrick Afonso of the City’s Parks Department. Mayor Walsh is wisely keeping up the focus on beautifying the municipal thoroughfares. There was a time, not long ago, when folks would venture out of the city to the suburbs to partake of beautiful green spaces. Nowadays, the opposite is true. Let me also take a moment to publicly thank a lovely local couple, Jim and Judith Connors of Charlesgate, for their unsolicited and generous donation of planting materials to Mission Hill Main Streets. Some people are so thoughtful and kind.

Sadly, in the last issue of the Gazette, I spoke of hosting another Savor the Flavors of Mission Hill event in November that we must postpone until a later date. Thank you to all those who expressed an interest in the Savor party and to those urging us for another Awards Night like the one held in June at the Parkman House.  It is comforting to hear such positive feedback for our Main Streets events.

Karen Gately knows how to throw a party for the grand opening of the RTH Community Center. Even with the news of the untimely passing of our longtime former mayor right next door at Brigham and Women’s Hospital earlier that day, there was a genuine sense that we should do more and always improve. That is the legacy and example set by the man who brought the Main Streets program to Boston, Thomas M. Menino. Requiescat in pace.

The writer is the executive director Mission Hill Main Streets.

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