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Provisional plan for old substation presented to Roslindale community

Posted by Your Town  July 28, 2011 05:59 PM

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The Roslindale community was invited to comment last night on a redevelopment proposal for the long-closed substation across the street from Adams Park on the corner of Washington Street and Cummins Highway.

Nonprofit organizations Historic Boston, Inc. and Roslindale Village Main Street gave a joint presentation to about 30 people at the Roslindale Village library. The two organizations have been working together for months to come up with a plan the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which owns the property, will approve, and at the same time, keep renovation costs to a minimum.

The historic 1911 building has sat empty for decades, but long ago it was the power station for trolleys that used to run down Washington Street. The two nonprofits think the building---with an open floor plan and soaring ceilings---would make a fine multi-use function hall. Mock-up images of the substation outfitted for a banquet and as a winter’s farmers’ market were displayed.

Questions about accessibility, bathrooms and water were brought up by community members, most of whom seemed excited by the possibilities presented. Modular toilets, an outdoor staging area for caterers and a ramp seem to be the answers for now.

Mike Tifford, representing Historic Boston, and Carter Wilkie, representing Roslindale Village Main Street, stressed that the proposal was an “interim” fix, meant to get the building stabilized and up and running as a resource for the community. Longer term goals, such as replacing the high arched windows, now bricked over; installing an elevator; and other improvements are still on the table.

The next step is for the nonprofits to bring the proposal to their prospective boards and then take it to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

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