The following letter is by Ginger Brown, Executive Director of JP Centre/South Main Streets, on behalf of the Board of Directors, JP Centre/South Main Streets:
JP Centre/South Main Streets urges the city of Boston to review their application process for outdoor seating for restaurants and examine how the process perpetuates racial disparities and inequities for small business owners. This includes both the current temporary 2022 Temporary Outdoor Dining Program and the permanent application process. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, our city rallied quickly to help our small businesses pivot and survive. In particular, the outdoor seating application process was simplified and expedited, and city employees went above and beyond to assist applicants and mediate requirements as needed. More restaurants than ever, particularly those owned by people of color, were able to provide outdoor seating, and the city saw revived business for our food establishments, as well as real enjoyment from customers.
The following is an open letter to the Jamaica Plain community written by Ginger Brown, Executive Director of JP Centre/South Main Streets on behalf of the Board of Directors, JP Centre/South Main Streets. Dear neighbors, allies, friends, and family:
JP Centre/South Main Streets stands with Black communities nationwide. We join, support, and amplify efforts against injustice and racism. In particular, we stand with the people of color who live, work, and/or own businesses in our community of Jamaica Plain. Join us on Saturday, March 19, 2022, from noon to 2 pm at 7 Burroughs Street as part of our “JP Business Uplift” to show your support.
Two Jamaica Plain organizations are teaming up to present a free Juneteenth concert with all donations going to the Black Umbrella Project. New England Jazz Connections, which was created by JP resident Greg Loughman, is partnering with JP Centre/South Main Streets, to present the Fred Woodard Jazz Collective on June 19 at 2 pm at First Baptist Church (633 Centre St.). "New England Jazz Connections is excited to present Fred Woodard and his group, and to support the Black Umbrella Project. The combination of good music, community building, and raising up folk who are making a positive change in the world is what our organization is all about," said Loughman. "JP Centre/South Main Streets is excited to partner with New England Jazz Connections to present this concert.
The JP Holiday Light Show is happening on the steeple of the First Baptist Church every night through Jan. 3. "It’s been a long and difficult year, and the need for celebration, hope, and spirit is more important than ever this winter," said Ginger Brown, executive director of JP Centre/South Main Streets. The show will also feature drawings from Jamaica Plain residents! This year's JP Centre/South Main Streets' projection show will be every evening from 4:30 pm to 9 pm.
Restaurants are now allowed to have customers inside at a reduced capacity, and to help offset the loss of customers, outdoor seating has been expanded for many eateries. To help cover some of the costs for businesses due to the pandemic, JP Centre/South Main Streets is holding a fundraising campaign to pay for things such as outdoor seating. The campaign runs through July 22 and has a target goal of $40,000, and as of July 8 had raised $3,545. JP Centre/South Main Streets is also letting customers know that businesses are open by asking them to put an orange balloon outside of their location. Business owners David Doyle of a trio of restaurants Tres Gatos, Little Dipper, and Casa Verde, and David Warner of City Feed & Supply, recently partnered to purchase the required jersey barriers (water-filled) for outdoor seating areas.
JP Centre/South Main Streets (JPCSMS) is a volunteer-led non-profit that works to strengthen the JP Centre/South business district as a vibrant center of community life. Right now, we are confronting the economic realities of the COVID-19 crisis, and suddenly finding ourselves in the position to lead our community in economic recovery efforts. Dozens of volunteers have already reached out to discuss how to best support our local businesses. Please read below to learn how you can contribute to ongoing recovery efforts. JPCSMS has identified three projects for immediate and long term impact.
The recent extreme heat delayed Mayor Marty Walsh touring around Main Street districts highlighting local businesses and volunteers, including several of Jamaica Plain's favorite businesses. Some of the JP part of the tour was rescheduled for July 22, and some of the tour was rescheduled for this weekend. During three separate days, Mayor Walsh will visit nine different locations, honoring 20 Main Street volunteers and numerous businesses. This weekend the PikaloX restaurant and volunteer Eugenia Arroyo, will be honored as part of Egleston Square Main Streets. The Little Dipper restaurant, and volunteer Melvin Tutiven will be honored by the Jamaica Plain Centre South Main Streets program.
Blue Frog Bakery and its "GingerBrad" named after bakery owner Brad Brown tied for first place with On Centre in the annual Jamaica Plain Business & Professional Association Business District Holiday Decorations Contest. "We're very excited to have won! I made the 'GingerBrad' couple myself," said Ginger Brown, owner of Blue Frog Bakery and executive director of JP Centre/South Main Streets. "Brad and I know that holiday decorations are vital for business during the holidays, and contribute to a sense of community for the neighborhood. We're also proud to share first place with On Centre!" Four judges looked at the 102 businesses in the Centre and South streets district that had decorations and were awarded points in three categories: most artistic, most festive, and most inviting to customers.
JP Centre/South Main Streets recently named a new president and a new executive director. The executive director position had been vacant since January. Michael Reiskind is now the new president for JP Centre/South Main Streets. He takes over for Brad Brown, who served as president since 2014, and will stay on as a board member for JP Centre/South Main Streets. Reiskind is a well known person throughout Jamaica Plain having been involved in many facets of the community. For more than 30 years Michael Reiskind and Bob McDonnell have organized Boston Shines in Jamaica Plain.