What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Ellen Walker

Special to the Gazette

Spring is on the way!  You can hear the birds singing and I saw a snowdrop flower peeking through the cold, hard soil the other day.  A sure sign that warmer weather will soon be here, and not just for a couple of days.

The February Mission Hill Crime Watch meeting had a guest speaker, Representative Nika Elugardo.  She talked about housing, health care and safety concerns as well as the steps that are being taken to improve all those areas for residents and students.  Representative Elugardo spent some time addressing the concerns around youth and youth gangs and violence and the critical need to approach this carefully and with a well thought plan to be able to help young people make better decision and give them options.  She holds office hours monthly rotating through the four (4) neighborhoods.  On February 29th, Nika held hours at the Parker Hill Library and in March, she will hold hours in Jamaica Plain on the 28th, the location is yet to be determined.

Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Nathan Silveira whose family has been part of the Mission Hill neighborhood for over 25 years.   Their first Dunkin’ Donuts opened at 1631 Tremont Street and over the past few years Nathan and his sister Janel have stepped into the family business as they have continued to expand.  Janel oversees operations of the three businesses while Nathan focuses on new development and can be found at their newest establishment, 37 S. Huntington quite often.

Nathan worked at the DD with his mom helping to open the store while in high school.  He went on to college to graduate with a degree in sports management and an MBA.  He worked in the sports field for a few years with the New England Patriots, Blue Sky and BU Athletics before deciding to join the family business.  Between the three locations, Janel and Nathan manage about 30 staff people who live locally, a good example of small business creating jobs in our neighborhood.  Stop by any one of the three locations and sign up for the VIP Card Program – the benefits are worth it!

In my travels throughout the Mission Hill neighborhood, I continue to learn about the people and the efforts made by residents to contribute to what is today a diverse and vibrant community.  An example is on my recent visit to the Tobin Community Center, I saw Carmen Pola.  This was her first day back on the job – she is feeling better and is happy to be back at the office helping others.  We talked about many things including the Legacy Project of Mission Hill.   The Legacy Project was started back in the 1970’s, which was a turbulent time in Mission Hill’s past and the project started with four (4) key individuals whose names are familiar to many – Ida Graves, Theresa Parks, Carmen Pola and Joan Schirer.  Four strong women of different ethnic backgrounds coming together to heal a neighborhood and open the dialogue with respect for all.  From community meetings, social networking and better and affordable housing actions, their efforts helped to create the foundation that makes Mission Hill work for many today.  Ida Graves has passed and is honored with a Mission Hill Main Streets bench at 782 Huntington Avenue.  It is remarkable what four strong women can accomplish when they work together!  As with any grass roots movement, the work continues, and the younger generation is shouldering that responsibility to keep us moving forward. 

Penguin Pizza will be hosting SPARK Boston’s upcoming fun social event in our neighborhood – Mission Hill.   They’d love to see you, your friends, colleagues, and anyone within the Mission Hill Main Streets community you think can benefit from getting to know Mission Hill better!

•       When? Thursday, March 19, 2020, 6 – 8 PM

•       Where? Penguin Pizza at 735 Huntington Ave (T-accessible via Brigham Circle or Roxbury Crossing)

•       What? Light refreshments and appearances from your neighbors and our elected representatives (Kenzie Bok, City Councilor representing Mission Hill, and Matt O’Malley, City Councilor for Back of the Hill and Roxbury) and other members of the civic community in Boston.  Sparks’ goal is for everyone attending the event to get a better idea of how to become civically engaged in their community and to meet new friends and neighbors

The month of March will bring us both Evacuation Day and St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th!   Evacuation Day is a holiday observed in Suffolk County, Massachusetts (which includes the cities of Boston, Chelsea, and Revere, and the town of Winthrop) and also by the public schools in Somerville, Massachusetts.  The holiday commemorates the evacuation of British forces from the city of Boston following the Siege of Boston, early in the American Revolutionary War.  Schools and government offices (including some Massachusetts state government offices located in Suffolk County) are closed.

Bostonians were the first to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in North America on March 17, 1737.  On Sunday, March 15th, the parade begins at the Broadway ‘T’ Station and ends at Andrew Square, South Boston. Your best bet for viewing the parade is to stake out a spot anywhere along Broadway. Marchers continue to Telegraph St to Dorchester St ending at Andrew Square. Parade Route: Broadway Station marks the start of the parade

Another aspect of Mission Hill to be proud of is that we have many long-term businesses in our district. Recently I was asked to gather information on some of our long-term businesses and it was an enjoyable and enlightening task.  Did you know that Hillside Market has been in Mission Hill since 1919 or that Mike’s Donuts has been around for 44 years?  We have several shops that have been around for over 33 years like Huntington Market, Carmen’s Beauty Salon, Tremont House of Pizza, Fuentes Market and Butterfly Falafel! There is something to be said for businesses that can survive the times as they make our neighborhood richer by their existence.

Now that Spring is just around the corner, it is time to start planning for those outdoor projects.  Boston Building Resources over on Terrace Street is offering an assortment of classes on home repair and they always have a good assortment of donated products, reasonably priced, to help with many home renovations projects.

Until next month, enjoy your neighborhood and neighbors as the warmer, sunnier weather brings us all out on to the streets for shopping, exploring our parks and eating at our favorite establishments!  Remember to hold the date for Mission Hill Main Streets Annual Community Appreciation Night on Wednesday, June 10th from 6:00-8:00pm!

Please visit our website (www.missionhillmainstreet.com), like us on Facebook and find us on the Distrx mobile app (Mission Hill District).

“Behold my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”

Sitting Bull

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