The city councilor who represents Jamaica Plain reviewed his last year in office and discussed his future priorities at a "Town Hall" style meeting on Wednesday at the Arnold Arboretum.
City Councilor Matt O'Malley's fourth-annual event drew a crowd of 70 to the Weld Hill Research Building, which sits in the middle of the Sixth District that he represents. He's the councilor for Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury and parts and Roslindale, Roxbury and Mission Hill.
O'Malley said his accomplishments the last year included being re-elected with 85 percent of the vote and helping pass a number of quality-of-life measures in his role as chairman of the government services committee on the city council. Those initiatives include getting more liquor licenses for Boston and taking control of their regulation back from the state, which has long insisted on overseeing them.
O'Malley said he has also focused on improving the look of the neighborhood's business districts through better trash removal and putting "Big Belly" solar trash compactor units in Jackson and Hyde Squares. In 2014 he hopes to get them installed in Centre/South and other parts of the neighborhood. He's also pushing for curbside composting.
Of course there was also discussion of the Casey Overpass project. O'Malley has taken a pragmatic approach to the sometimes devisive issue of whether the crumbing flyover should be replaced by a network of surface roads, as is planned, or a new bridge, as some residents continue to advocate.
O'Malley said the focus should be on making sure Forest Hills businesses can survive during the heavy-duty construction project. He urged residents to "adopt a restaurant" in Forest Hills and vow to eat there at least once a week during the expected two years of the project.
Further, O'Malley said he aims to have the Department of Transportation have someone available to answer residents' and business owners' questions on site full-time during the construction. The department told him it would have two or three people at a trailer on site at all times.
O'Malley was able to pass along good news about the Jamaica Plain Branch of Boston Public Library. The long-delayed renovation of the branch has moved to the design phase.
Questions from the audience after O'Malley spoke included issues like finally removing the trolley poles along Centre Street, problems with the 39 bus not running as advertised and helping older residents stay in their homes as they age.
For a full review of the items O'Malley highlighted, see the presentation embedded below and available at this link.[scribd-doc doc=215107574 key=key-ytoww596cxsi2xxixgr]