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Planning Initiative for Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury gets underway

Posted by Patrick Rosso  June 14, 2012 02:57 PM

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The 9.2-mile Fairmount Commuter Rail Line stretches through Boston from South Station to Hyde Park.

The Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative hopes to use the rail corridor to spur construction, job creation, and economic development in the communities touched by the line.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority's Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative, dubbed the FIPI, is the largest planning initiative undertaken by the city organization and held its first Community Advisory Group meeting Thursday morning at City Hall.

The advisory group, which brings together businesses, organizatinons and residents along the line, will work with the BRA and its consultant team from the Boston based Cecil Group, to form a shared community vision for the corridor that runs through Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park.

That vision, according to the BRA, includes a guide for physical and economic development, encouragement of sustainable economic development, limiting the displacement of existing businesses and residents, and incorporating existing plans and studies.

(Image courtesy BRA)

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The BRA also envisions spurring transit-oriented economic development along the corridor and the line’s four current stops, three new stops currently under construction, and one stop on Blue Hill Avenue that is in the design phase.

Thursday’s meeting brought together the CAG for the first time to explain the process and to learn about what the community nominated and mayor approved members would like to see along the line.

“We are very concerned about community and economic development” said Dr. Azzie Young, president and CEO of the Mattapan Community Health Center and CAG member. “We are trying to ensure Mattapan Square becomes a vibrant and workable community.”

Many on the 25-member CAG, which represents a broad swath of the corridor with both community organizers, residents, and neighborhood institutions sitting on it, said they were most concerned about bringing economic vitality to their neighborhoods, making sure to not displace current residents or businesses, increase green space, and build a community around the rail line.

“I want ensure the residents benefit from any development along the line and ensure residents are engaged in the process,” said Marzug Muhammad, of the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation and CAG member.

Although many were excited to get started on the $380,000 planning initiative, partially funded by the Boston Foundation and the Garfield Foundation, the group has just gotten its legs and still has quite a bit of organizing to do.

Directed by BRA staff Jeremy Rosenberger and Inés Palmarín the group is currently organizing and working on setting meeting dates and thinking about its vision for the corridor that runs through the neighborhoods of more than 160,000 people.

By June 2013 the BRA estimated a draft corridor-wide plan should be completed.

The corridor-wide process will also be broken up into three “Station Area Plans” that will target specific stops along the line to focus resources and community input.

Uphams Corner, which recently was named by the city as a recipient of a separate grant to spur cultural development, has already been targeted for one of the “Station Area Plans” and two more will be selected in the near future.

With the “Station Area Plans” a separate Working Advisory Group, expected to be picked by the end of the year, will be selected for each project and will provide community input on the specific stations and how the areas could benefit the most from a comprehensive analysis.

The BRA estimated a draft of the “Station Area Plans” should be completed by October 2013.

A date for the next CAG meeting, which is open to the public, has not been set but will be held in July and future meetings are expected to take place in the neighborhoods that border the line.

For more information from the BRA about the FIPI, click here.

To read about the naming of the CAG, click here.

To read about the naming of the consultant team, click here.

To read about the FIPI kick-off in February, click here.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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