On Wednesday, September 17, the Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) met for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The agenda, which was kept intentionally short due to the Ward 10 candidate forum scheduled for the same night, featured a presentation by Sociedad Latina.
Sociedad Latina, Inc. is a Roxbury-based nonprofit organization aimed at building more robust opportunities for Boston’s Latinx community. It is a long-standing community staple and was recently featured on the Canadian television program Cityline. Executive director Alexandra Oliver-Davila gave a presentation about proposed renovations to their building at 1530 Tremont Street, which was purchased in 2017.
Changes to the building’s interior would be minimal and would focus on upgrading the Youth Development Program, adding sound-proofing to the music room and removing the front stairwell. An elevator would replace the current light shaft in order to make the building more accessible. Renovations would also address mechanical issues such as heating and cooling. No basement work is currently planned.
The majority of the renovations would be focused on stabilizing, restoring and repairing the exterior facade. This will include replacing support beams, cleaning copper fixtures and replacing security grates with security cameras. A photovoltaic rooftop will house an electric heat pump system that will be obscured by a wood fence. Additional windows will be added and boarded up windows will be restored.
The organization has fundraised for two years to be able to afford the needed repairs, which are to be designed by Studio Luz Architects. The need for renovations was echoed by current and former staff of Sociedad Latina. In order to realize all needed renovations, developers are seeking a variance for the Floor Area Ratio, which is currently in excess due to the plans to build an elevator.
Executive Director of the Mission Hill Health Movement (MHHM) Mary Ann Nelson suggested CAMH take a vote that evening, due to the fact that the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing will take place before the October CAMH meeting. However, newly established CAMH guidelines forbid voting on issues the night they are presented to allow time to weigh the pros and cons. Members were told they could write to the Zoning Board to share their support of the project. Nelson reported that Sociedad Latina had been responsive to MHHM concerns about how construction efforts would impact its own building.
Community Alliance of Mission Hill meets on the third Wednesday of the month in auditorium G-3 of the Kresge building at the Chan School of Public Health at 677 Huntington Ave. from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Their next meeting will be on Wednesday, October 16. All members of the Mission Hill community are invited to attend.