Casey Arborway Tour: Rediscovering the Original Topography of Forst Hills

Join the JP Historical Society and local historian Richard Heath for a walking tour of the imagination. Not one square inch remains of the Forest Hills of forty years ago; the Southwest Corridor and the Casey Arborway obliterated all architectural landmarks from that era. And yet the vista and connection that Frederick Law Olmsted once designed and supervised for the parkway between the Arboretum and Franklin Park (most of which was destroyed in 1952 for the Casey Overpass) have been remade. Our walk will follow Olmsted's plan (and end at the lower busway of Forest Hills Station). The tour will also cover the original transportation patterns which characterized Forest Hills well before Olmsted made his plan, those of the Norfolk & Bristol Turnpike and the Boston & Providence Railroad.

Bromley Heath Homes Renamed for Longtime Housing Leader Mildred Hailey

On a sun-flooded morning, hundreds of families from Bromley Heath apartments sat in overflow chairs in a crowded tent to listen as Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Housing Authority William McGonagle renamed the development Mildred C. Hailey Apartments. Joining them was Anna Mae Cole, a friend and comrade in arms for over 60 years and former chair of the Bromley Heath Tenant Management Corporation that Mrs. Hailey  (and yes she was always Mrs. Hailey) directed for 40 years. Mrs. Hailey died of cancer at the age of 82 on Nov. 18, 2015 . Walsh remembered her memorial service: "At the end Billy [McGonagle] came up to me and said, "I've never asked you for anything but I'd like to ask you to name Bromley Heath after Mildred Hailey."


Affordable Housing Advocates Call For 3-Month Delay in Massive Rezoning Plan

Plan B went into full effect at the 6th Plan JP/Rox workshop last Wednesday as 50 protesters marched into the room clapping. Just as the emcee, Senior Planner Marie Mercurio, was concluding  her opening remarks, the protesters grabbed what they called "the people's mic" to "fight not for profit but for the community." For over an hour, "Keep it 100% for Egleston," a well-organized and well-rehearsed group, listed its demands to stop the Boston Redevelopment Authority-sponsored Plan JP/Rox for three months. Plan JP/Rox is a once-in-a-generation rezoning process for the whole Washington Street and Columbus Avenue corridors in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. The protest group, which is comprised both young people as well as adults, alternated speakers using a call-and-response format.


A Hundred Kids Build Fairy Houses in Franklin Park

It was glorious mild spring Thursday at Schoolmaster Hill in Franklin Park for the Third Annual Fairy House Building Workshop sponsored by the Boston Parks Department and the Franklin Park Coalition. Over a hundred boys and girls scampered over the drumlin collecting branches, leaves and cones to build houses for the magical woodland creatures that reappear in the springtime in New England fields and woods. Storytelling and books from Read Boston and the MassHort plant education tent were also on hand as well as face painting. The workshop showed kids of all ages how to have fun simply using natural items that are just lying around on the park floor under trees and shrubs.

Richard Heath

State Of Our Neighborhood Needs Opposing Views

The Sixth Annual State Of Our Neighborhood on April 7 was a sunny and happy affair. The elected officials were sage and the non profit advocates satisfied. Everyone agreed with everyone else. At the March 14 City council hearing on Just Cause Eviction the opposition was heard and their views were blunt: restraints on evictions "destroys property," "coddles problem tenants," "increases crime like illegal drugs," "breaks a contract between landlord and tenant," "the system will fall apart," "they're robbing us of our property." One opponent was Gilbert Winn who chairs the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and is owner and manager of Winn Properties (one arm of which is Winn Residential that manages thousands of income-based rental apartments for Community Development Corporations like Codman Square NDC and Urban Edge.)

Councilor Andrea Campbell asked him, "What are the solutions?" Winn broke out in a big grin and said "Money! There's not enough money for affordable housing.


JP Neighborhood Council Election Day Set For April 30

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council will hold its election for members on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The JPNC is an elected advisory board whose recommendations are usually, though not always, accepted by the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, Licensing Board and other civic boards. The poling places are:

Stop and Shop. 301 Centre St,  Jackson Square
JP Licks. 659 Centre St. Jamaica Plain center
Harvest Co-op 3815 Washington St Forest Hills

There are currently 19 members on the JP Neighborhood Council; four at-large and 15 area members.

Jamaica Plain News swag

Jamaica Plain News Has Turned Two. Thank You!

Two years ago this week, we launched a new website covering the neighborhood. More than 900,000 page views later, we'd like to thank everyone who's read us, written for us, talked to us as sources and advertised with us. Readers might not know that the name "Jamaica Plain News" is a nod to the neighborhood’s first newspaper. It was published from 1872 to 1932 by the Jamaica Printing Co., according to the JP Historical Society. A Centre Street storefront was packed two Aprils ago when we held a launch party in the space that's now the home of Hatched.


Washington Street Population Could More than Double

If you want evidence why the city has finally launched a long-awaited planning effort for JP, look no further than this eye-popping prediction: Planners expect the Washington Street corridor to see population growth of as much as 2.5 times current levels. That possibility was among the top topics of discussion last Monday as the first neighborhood review of the proposed development guidelines at the Egleston Square Neighborhood Association monthly meeting. Chaired by Alvin Shiggs and Carolyn Royce; the discussion was led by Sue Pranger. Marie Mercurio, senior planner for Jamaica Plain and coordinator of Plan JP/Rox, was joined by her colleague Tim Davis, senior housing advisor for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, to answer questions and clarify concerns about the draft development guidelines. The planning push is a once-in-a-generation effort to shape the neighborhood's future.


First Look: Proposals Emerge From Giant ‘Plan JP/Rox’ Effort

The once-in-a-generation planning effort that goes by the name "Plan JP/Rox" has started to produce specifics about what our neighborhood will look like. "We've listened to you. Now it's time to respond to you with your ideas wrapped up into planning policies," announced senior BRA architect John Dalzell at a packed Saturday morning workshop,  the fifth in a series which began in September 2015 to plan the future of the Washington Street corridor from Forest Hills to Jackson Square. Because there's so much information to digest, we've broken down this report into several posts. You can read about overarching concerns here in this story.


Plan JP/Rox: Forest Hills to Host 15-Story Buildings

The once-in-a-generation planning effort that goes by the name "Plan JP/Rox" has started to produce specifics about what our neighborhood will look like. For Forest Hills, the transformation is already well underway. Forest Hills: "Forest Hills is another gateway to the neighborhood," said Dalzell. " A large portion of it will come to the city from the MBTA"  when the Arborway Yard is subdivided. "More housing.