There is a new executive director for the Jamaica Plain Centre/South Main Streets program after 19 months of that position being vacant.
“One of my favorite things about JP is the cultural vibrancy and the social economic diversity it has,” Johnson told Jamaica Plain News. “I love that you can find an Indian restaurant yards away from a Lebanese restaurant or a Goodwill store feet away from City Feed. JP’s residents are smart, active and engaged.”
He said he plans to put more focus on the South Street portion of the district, “…it seems that South Street has been somewhat neglected over time.”
Johnson also said reviving First Thursdays Art Walk is high priority. He said the monthly event from April into October that encompasses installation art, live music, dance, and a farmers market characterizes the unique charm of the JP community.
He said he plans to partner with both local Jamaica Plain Main Streets program in Hyde/Jackson and Egleston Square. “Our districts literally bump up next to each other and geographically it just makes sense to work together to create a better feeling in JP from Forest Hills down Centre to Jackson Square to Egleston Square.”
Johnson is a social worker and a community organizer with extensive knowledge of community development, strategic partnerships, public safety and violence prevention. He was born and raised in Boston and lives in Mattapan.
His most recent role was as the Massachusetts Program Manager for Teach Plus, a non-profit “dedicated to empower excellent, experienced teachers to take over leadership of key policy and practice issues that affect urban students’ success,” according to its website. Johnson also previously worked in Chicago, Norfolk (VA), Akron and Cincinnati to manage and support the implementation of The Community Builders place-based resident and community success model.
“I look forward to working with the business owners, service providers, community stakeholders and residents to continue to make Jamaica Plain one of Boston’s premier neighborhoods,” said Johnson.
Jamaica Plain Centre/South Main Street is located at 670 Centre St. Suite 7.