Mission Hill Pathway Team holds community meeting

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

Members of the group ODJ Dev LLC, who were designated by the city to develop 11 city-owned parcels at 77 Terrace Street and 778-796 Parker Street, hosted community members at the Tobin Community Center on Tuesday to discuss their vision for the site called Mission Hill Pathway.

The preliminary plans for the site include 40 affordable condominiums, 30,000 square feet of open space and community gardens owned and operated by The Trustees, public connections between Parker and Terrace Street, and 5,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

Details from preliminary planning were covered thoroughly in the Gazette back in October and can be viewed at https://missionhillgazette.com/2023/10/09/taking-a-closer-look-at-mission-hill-pathway/.

Tuesday’s meeting served as an opportunity not only for residents to learn a little more about the vision for the site but also to start helping shape the project.

“We know how to build things, we know how to navigate departments, we know how to have conversations with lenders and lots of different things, but what we really don’t know is we don’t know the ins and the outs of what really makes Mission Hill tick and what could be done better,” said Kevin Maguire, Founder of Oxbow Urban.

As the meeting progressed, both Maguire and Dariela Villón-Maga, President and Founder of

DVM Housing Partners went through plans for the project and, along the way, answered questions and took suggestions from attendees.

One of the first topics that brought up questions and comments was the open space portion of the project, which is slated to be on the Parker Street side of the site.

An attendee wanted to know if something would be done to the soil in the community garden portion of the open space so that food could be grown there.

Peter Bowne, a representative from the Trustees who was in attendance, explained that it would not take title on the property if the soil were not remediated.

Maguire also spoke about the soil at the site, saying, “This was a big issue previously when they tried to develop the site just in general.”

He explained that the city had received a grant for $800,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency for the site, saying, “They’re very focused on making sure it gets remediated and is safe.”

Another attendee wanted to know if it would be possible to give priority to Mission Hill residents and families with kids for the garden.

Bowne explained that they cannot exclude anyone who is a resident of Boston. However, he spoke about priority questionnaires that ask about folks’ intent to be in the neighborhood and support the garden.

Another big topic of discussion during this meeting concerned the configuration of a drop-off and pickup area off Terrace Street.

In a rendering of the project, it had a cut-out off of the driveway that leads to the parking garage where a car doing a pickup or drop-off could drive in and park, then would have to turn around and come out.

However, an attendee was of the mindset that there should be a different configuration. “He’s (a driver) not going to turn around; what they’re going to do is drive up on the curb,” they said.

The attendee thought it would be a good idea to design something drivers could pull right in and out of. “No one’s going to drive in and drive out. They’re just not going to; they’re on a clock, and they want to stop, drop, and move.”

Another attendee pointed out that the way the area is configured in the rendering only accommodates one vehicle. Others suggested different configurations, such as a half-moon driveway.

There was also a discussion about the park and the current design with some units’ back doors opening onto it.

One attendee suggested having a lawn coming out and a walkway across to differentiate the park from the space for the people who live at the development. There were also discussions about incorporating shrubs or a green fence.

Finally, there was a conversation about the residential entrance along Terrace Street, with attendees giving different opinions.

As for the timeline of this project, the housing permitting and open space public participation processes are slated to take place in the spring and summer of 2024, with a construction start date planned in the summer of 2025 and completion in 2027.

“This is a real opportunity that will be coming, and if you want to participate in it or you know others that want to participate in it — it’s real, but it’s going to take some work,” said Maguire.

If you would like to get in touch with the developers of the project and learn more, you can fill out a form at https://tinyurl.com/MissionPathwayContact,

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