The Mother Brook Community Group held its third annual meeting Tuesday, discussing changes to the East Dedham community and giving out its yearly awards.
Among the biggest changes is the opening of the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center. The center organization takes over the building, formerly used as the Avery Elementary School, at 123 High St. this Friday.
The plan at this time is to convert the school library into a café, to turn many of the classrooms into studio spaces that would be rented, and to have community spaces available as well, primarily on the first floor, according to Mother Brook Community Group chairman Dan Hart.
“They had over 200 local artists that toured the facility,” Hart said of the art center’s leadership. “A number have already spoken about their interest.”
The school’s gym would still be available for town events, including continuing its role as polling location for Precinct 3, according to Hart.
One project potentially slated for the future is a revitalization of the East Dedham Plaza, located at the intersection of High and Bussey Streets just a few blocks from the arts and community center.
The Delapa family, the owners of the property, are in the preliminary stages of seeking input about revamping the shopping area, according to Hart.
The current idea is to create a mixed-use development with residential and commercial units at the space. The Delapas’ attorney, Peter Zahka, made a brief presentation to the Mother Brook group at its meeting Tuesday.
“Our organization enthusiastically wants him to move forward,” Hart said.
The Delapas would be seeking community input throughout the spring and summer, according to Hart.
A presentation about Mill Pond Park in East Dedham led into the Mother Brook organization’s annual awards.
Over the past year, residents and organizations got together to clean up and refurbish the riverside park on Colburn Street.
Two men conspicuous in that effort have been Jon Briggs of the Dedham Conservation Commission and Gints Grinbergs, an artist who erected a fish sculpture in the park made almost entirely out of scrap metal.
Both received the Mother Brook Community Group Community Service Award on Tuesday.
In the coming months, park benches, landscaping, and lighting will be installed in the park, completing the effort, according to Hart.
About 80 people attended Tuesday’s event, which was called “Renaissance and Rebirth,” referring to all of the new activity taking place in East Dedham, Hart said.
“It’s great to take a step back and look at what has happened over the year,” Hart said.