The ’hood hums with lots of local happenings. The Mission Hill Youth Collaborative proved it with their annual Showcase of the Stars on June 5 at MassArt’s Pozen Center. Neighborhood kids showcased their musical talents, rhythmic movement, eloquence, poise and athletic dexterity to a packed house that was standing-room-only. Many of the true unsung heroes in our area who give generously of their time and talents to the next generation were feted at this gala dinner. Kudos to Maggie Casey, John Jackson and all the other folks at the Tobin Center who keep the focus on our most precious resource: the children.
This year’s Boston Shines weekend went off well despite the uncertain weather conditions. Volunteers laughed in the face of occasional drizzles and adjusted to tackle the annual neighborhood spring cleaning. A fun time was had by all. Special thanks go out to the Brigham and Women’s Young Professionals, a group of the hospital’s young employees who hail from every corner of the globe, who did their Boston Shining on Friday night, May 9, after work hours, and broke a sweat sweeping the streets before retiring to our local watering holes to slake their thirsts. Giving back to the neighborhood was a two-fer for these enthusiastic health care workers. They improved the appearance of Mission Hill and supported the area’s small businesses (They even arrived in their own distinctive T-shirts). Once again, MASCO helped defray the costs with generous donations from Boston Children’s Hospital, Emmanuel College, Harvard Medical School and Simmons College. Mike’s Donuts and Penguin Pizza came through with the nourishment, and the Mission Hill Knights of Columbus and the Boston DPW crews were superb!
Barry Twomey is at it again—looking out for those in need! Barry has arranged for the Fair Foods program to come to the Tobin Center, where a $2 donation will get you a bag of produce valued between $12-18, beginning last month and continuing every other Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Fair Foods Rescue Mission is a nonprofit group that secures fruits and vegetables that never make it to market for various reasons, like overstocks and cosmetic imperfections, and provides them at reduced costs. There are no income requirements, and you can take as many bags as you need. Volunteers are always needed and you can help by speaking to Barry.
The Sean Bender birthday memorial gathering on June 1 was a fitting tribute to a talented young man who loved Mission Hill and left us much too soon. A lovely crabapple tree was planted in Fitzgerald Park in honor of the late Wentworth staffer and Main Streets activist.
As we go to press, the Mission Hill Main Streets soiree at the Parkman House has yet to occur. Details about all the evening’s awardees will be provided in the next issue of the Gazette.
I do have other great news to report. On June 4, the City’s Office of New Mechanics unveiled the winning ideas from the first Public Space Invitational in Boston, a contest for engineers, designers, architects and other creative minds to enliven public spaces around the city. At the City Hall ceremony, there were nine winners chosen from among 72 entries in three categories: The Streetscape, City Hall and Random Awesome Design. The proposals had to be modest enough to be done for less than $4,500, and a proposal from Mission Hill was the first one selected in the Streetscape category.
Architect Nick Guertin lives in Mission Hill, loves the community and serves on the Mission Hill Main Streets Design Committee. Nick listened to local concerns about the appearance of one section of Mission Hill and proposed street furniture to dress up Huntington Avenue from Brigham Circle to the intersection of S. Huntington at local community meetings. Nick garnered additional preliminary support for the concept from neighbors, New England Baptist Hospital, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard and his supervisors at Abacus Architects.
The design featured much-needed seating with planting boxes in various styles that complement the area architecture, with some designs featuring overhangs and bicycle racks, depending on their particular placement. The panel of distinguished judges empaneled by City Hall also liked Nick’s vision, and now the next phase begins to gather additional community support and funding. You’ll be hearing more as the process unfolds, and we are all proud Mayor Walsh has recognized the initiative and creativity of this fine young neighbor.
I attended the “Team Fitz” event at the Boston Teacher’s Union Hall on May 30 to support the group of riders in this summer’s PanMass Challenge bicycle ride to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Center. I’ve missed the last few gatherings done to honor the memory of our late state Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald, who died from the ravages of cancer. Just like the PanMass bike ride itself, this effort by Kevin’s family and friends has grown exponentially, and the Mission Hill community came out in force. What started out as a small ragtag effort has evolved into another reason to be proud of Mission Hill.
The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Street.