What’s Happening on Main Streets

April 7, 2017
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A graduate of Boston Latin School, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Love of beauty is taste…the creation of beauty is art.” As someone with zero artistic talent, I am frequently awestruck by what I observe surrounding me in this job in Mission Hill. The works hanging in the Sparring Partners Windows (the old Sparr’s drugstore at Huntington and Longwood) change frequently and never disappoint. For me, art appreciation has been an acquired skill bestowed upon me by close proximity to two incredibly talented women, my two daughters.

Art enriches our lives in innumerable ways and the art scene in Mission Hill thrives. Local artists give voice to their talents with exhibitions in many of our Main Street businesses and the Parker Hill public library with coordination by the Mission Hill Artists Collective’s Lydia Polanco Pena, Joann McCracken, Joe and Carol Barry, and Luanne Witkowski. Local shutterbugs like Nancy Ahmadifar, Dragan Petakov, Bill Jordan, Eduardo Del Solar, David Mynott, Kay Matthew and Zoran Spasojevic and others in the INFocus Camera Club share their astounding aptitudes through photography. These folks and many others have made Mission Hill evolve each day into an even more stimulating and creative destination.

Notwithstanding our Commander in Chief, few in government savor getting their brains kicked-in by the press and especially not by voters in community forums. With terms of public office on my resume, I developed respect for those courageous souls who still throw themselves “into the arena.” On March 20, I watched local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez host a well-attended community meeting to give the results of his recently circulated questionnaire and to gauge the district’s pulse, answer questions and welcome suggestions from constituents.

Now in his eighth two-year term representing approximately 40,000 taxpayers of Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, and Roslindale, Jeff is a workhorse legislator who still voices enthusiasm and optimism for the process. This separates him from many of the cynical show-horses who constantly bloviate in the press. Most in attendance seemed to appreciate the interchange. Rep. Sanchez told me afterward that he receives “some of my best ideas” at such forums. A lovefest it was not. A few “bomb-tossers” in the audience thought they could position Jeffrey into signing onto and supporting some special interest group’s legislation. They demanded that, “Your district wants this bill!” I valued how he stood his ground and explained how it is best for him to “hear all sides of the argument during the legislative process before committing to one side or the other” particularly on issues that don’t come before his committee. Jeffrey doesn’t cower to groups who claim to speak for his district and I hear that he responds the same way to the entrenched powers on Beacon Hill.

Many locals commended MHMS for the attractive free-standing, self-watering flower pots that adorned the neighborhood last summer. They were purchased with a grant from the Mission Hill Fenway Neighborhood Trust (MHFNT). What is that, you ask? In 1988, then local state Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald passed legislation to establish the trust when Beth Israel Hospital bought the old MassArt campus on Brookline Avenue from the state. A $1.5 million contribution was made by the hospital, which grew to $1.9M. Since the turn of the century the MHFNT has been providing loans or grants to neighborhood nonprofits in Mission Hill and the Fenway through an application process overseen by dedicated neighborhood volunteers. This visionary concept is just another example in which Kevin Fitz’s dedication to his community continues on without him.

Adam Sarbaugh, who lives in Mission Hill and owns Cornerstone Realty, told me how delighted he was in seeing the flower pots every day. Cornerstone made an unsolicited donation for MHMS to purchase even better flowers for the neighborhood this year. Thank you, Adam for the blossoming bequest.

You are cordially invited to the Mission Hill Crime Committee’s annual anniversary party on April 27 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Mission Church Parish/Community Hall. This is ALWAYS a great event with nice neighbors and good free food donated by local Mission Hill Main Street businesses along with some homemade sweets made by some of the stalwart Ladies of Mission Hill. Best of all, speeches are held to the very bare minimum. Free to all.

Planning is underway for the annual Mission Hill Main Streets Awards night to be held on June 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the grand Griffin Building’s 6th floor reception room at the Massachusetts School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University on Huntington Avenue. This event is always a winner and 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of Mission Hill Main Streets. Stay tuned for further details. Be there or be square!

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