A group of Fields Corner residents and stakeholders is progressing on a goal to “re-envision” the neighborhood, organizers say.
After a study was published by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology class detailing the opportunities, assets, and challenges in the neighborhood, the community has been working to turn what was put on paper into tangible action.
The study highlighted the importance and need for affordable housing in the community; the diversity of the neighborhood with its Vietnamese, Irish, Caribbean, and Latino communities; and it’s busy commercial district.
The group, made up of business owners, residents, members of the neighborhood’s immigrant communities, and city and state officials has been working since the beginning of the year to come up with ways to re-brand the Dorchester neighborhood and make it better both residents and visitors.
“We want to make Fields Corner a destination, not just a stop,” said Nam Pham, executive director of Viet-AID, one of the initiative's convening agencies.
The group has held three meetings so far to pick the brains of those who are in the community every day.
“We want to first focus on a few things that we can do immediately and get concrete results,” said Pham.
In past meetings Pham said, public safety, cleanliness, and community communication have been the top issues.
Pham said the group is moving forward, from organizing neighborhood watches to finding places to add trash cans.
“At the last meeting we had more than 35 people and many were new participants, not just the usual suspects,” he said.
Although the group is trying to improve the neighborhood both for the residents and businesses, Pham added that what is being learned will contribute to how Viet-AID, a community development non-profit, can create better projects and programs.
“Long-term we want to incorporate the input we get from the community into out overall development plans,” said Pham.
With big plans and ideas the group has come up with some broad visions for the neighborhood, but at the moment Pham said the group plans to tackle the little things that can make a big difference, including more block parties, monthly neighborhood cleanups, and maybe a festival or two.
Another meeting is expected to be held by the group in late-May.