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In South Boston environmental advocates look to create connections

Posted by Patrick Rosso  July 23, 2013 01:08 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)


Those who attended Wednesday's assembly.


Oorganizers behind the South Boston/Fort Point Environmental Assembly are looking to bring like-minded South Boston residents and advocates together to help support a greener and cleaner South Boston.

On Monday, the assembly held its inaugural event at Factory 63 in the Fort Point. With close to 25 people in attendance, a variety of groups from the community and beyond including South Boston Grows, Friends of the Fort Point Channel, Southie Bikes, and the Fort Point Arts Community were represented.

“This isn’t a new group, this is a new effort,” explained Jake Bombard, one of the event’s organizers who is also a board member of South Boston Grows and a legislative aide to Representative Nick Collins.

“We have a lot of different groups in this community and they have really unique missions and purposes, but one common thread that unites them all is that they try to improve the quality of life for the community,” said Bombard. “We want to foster collaboration between these groups because a lot of them may not necessarily know each other.”

Board members, executive directors, and community activists mixed and mingled Monday, discussing their own work and priorities for the community. Although South Boston is traditionally tight-knit, the assembly aims to expand that community to parts of the neighborhood that often seem cut off, such as the Fort Point.

“Having nights like this where we talk and work with each other can help us integrate our open spaces,” said Bill Gleason, president of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association.

The neighborhood has seen an explosion in environmental advocacy over the past 10 years, especially with the influx of new residents. From the Fort Point to City Point, neighborhood groups and non-profits have been expanding interest in neighborhood trees, community and green spaces, transportation safety, and neighborhood density.

“We want to integrate our spaces with the Harborwalk and the Fort Point and interconnecting all those green spaces would be a big benefit to the community,” added Gleason.

Some also saw the event as an opportunity to relate their own environmental concerns to the broader neighborhood.

“If we can keep up a conversation between the people who made it a point to come out tonight, then hopefully we can bring back those concerns to the greater community,” said Dan Ostreman, a resident of the Fort Point who touched on the importance of rising sea levels to the entire seaside community.

From more trees to safer bike routes, a variety of topics were discussed Monday, but it was the actual conversations and the exchanging of contact info that many highlighted as the most important part of the night.

“I feel like this assembly is away for groups to find a shared agenda,” said Stefanie Valovic, co-founder of Planet Southie. “I think we’ve all worked together at some point, but it’s nice to do it on a formal scale.”

“We want to get more and more people together; it’s one of the fastest growing communities and we want to get people involved,” explained Phoebe Fleming, one of the organizers behind the event and president of South Boston Grows.

The South Boston/Fort Point Environmental Assembly is expected to hold a series of meetings throughout the summer. To get involved or for more information contact Jake Bombard at jdbombard@gmail.com

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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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