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Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy

Restoring, Maintaining and Enhancing the Southwest Corridor Park

The Parkland Management Advisory Committee (PMAC)

About
Meeting Schedule and Locations
History of the SWC
Organizations involved with the SWC Park

Roxbury, photographer unknown
Roxbury, photographer unknown
The Parkland Management Advisory Committee (PMAC) was created during the Southwest Corridor Park planning process, in the 1970s, with input from the State Legislature, MBTA, and citizens. For more than thirty years PMAC has been an active player in the management and oversight of the park. It is the voice of the people to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and approves changes to the park prior to DCR's action.

Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00, and rotate between the three sections of the park: at 70 St. Botolph Street in the Back Bay/South End; at the Boston Police station on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain; and at the Boston Police Headquarters at 1 Schroeder Plaza on the corner of Ruggles and Tremont Streets, near Roxbury Crossing. The first part of the meeting is focused on Public Safety. Police from the State, MBTA, and the three Boston Districts meet with the community to discuss safety issues and resolve solutions to problems.

The second part of the monthly meeting is Community Concerns. During this part of the meeting, the DCR park manager reports on the schedule for the month ahead, and the DCR and community discusses any concerns related to management of the park.

Contact: Janet Hunkel, President jhunkel@aol.com


PARKLAND MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (PMAC)
MEETING SCHEDULE

Meetings start at 7:00 PM with the Public Safety portion; Community Concerns start at 7:45 PM and finish about 8:45 PM. They are held on the first Wednesday of the month, and the venue rotates between the three sections of the corridor. All Meetings are open to the Public.



Locations:
South End/St. Botolph -- 1st Floor Community Room
St. Botolph Elderly Housing
70 St, Botolph St.
The closest T station is Back Bay
Metered parking on Huntington Ave.

Jamaica Plain -- 1st Floor Conference Room
Boston Police Station
3347 Washington St.
The closest T station is Green St.
Parking is available on Washington St.

Roxbury -- 2nd Floor Conference Room,
Boston Police Station
1 Schroeder Plaza, Corner of Ruggles and Tremont Sts.
The closest T station is Ruggles
Parking is available in the Police lot. As you approach the gate press the buzzer, and the officer at the front desk should allow you access into the lot.

For any questions please contact Janet Hunkel, PMAC President, at jhunkel@aol.com


A BRIEF HISTORY of the SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR PARK

In the mid-1960s, a swath of land in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury was bulldozed for a so-called improvement: a twelve-lane highway that would provide Boston's suburban communities with an inner city circumferential and a connector to I-95. Residents from the South End, Fenway, Cambridge, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain united in peaceful protests, and turned adversity--desolated land, searing through once cohesive neighborhoods—into opportunities—mass transit, economic development, construction jobs, and a park that connects the neighborhoods.

The protesters’ mission was clear: PEOPLE BEFORE HIGHWAYS: STOP I-95. This motto was boldly painted on the granite embankment of the railroad right-of-way, in Roxbury. In 1969, citizens marched to the State House, and demanded a stop to highway construction in Boston and Cambridge. The result was a moratorium on the construction of the highway, and in a first-ever event in the nation, a proportion of highway money was re-allocated to build mass transit.

This new federal financial source for transit was utilized, along with funding from the Commonwealth, to re-locate the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA or T) Orange Line from an elevated structure (the El) on Washington St. to the NE Corridor’s right-of-way, and to upgrade the existing commuter rail and Amtrak service. Unique to transportation planning, at that time, was the inclusion of community input into planning and design. For the better part of a decade, dedicated residents attended hundreds upon hundreds of community meetings, held by the MBTA’s SWC Project Office.

Community input made a difference--from construction to completion. The community’s request for jobs resulted in provisions that allocated some of the design and planning contracts, as well as construction jobs, for the local and minority populations. The parkland design created much needed open space and recreational facilities, and reflected the interests of residents in individual neighborhoods. Community guidelines were established for the future development of the land that was previously bulldozed for the highway. The new, re-located Orange Line, and the eight stations provide convenient access to downtown Boston and other transit lines. In April of 1987 the trains resumed operation, the transit was relocated from the El, and the park was open for all. Residents and public officials were proud to be part of the first ever change of public policy, from major highway construction to mass transit and community development.

The Southwest Corridor Park: 'Many Neighborhoods, One Park
' The Southwest Corridor Park’s long and narrow configuration—4.7 miles in length, covering 52 acres--embraces a diversity of cultures and ethnicities in the neighborhoods of the South End/St. Botolph, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. Over 130,000 people live along the corridor and it is estimated that one million people use the park. We are, 'Many Neighborhoods, One Park'.

Woven throughout the park are commonalities in uses and structures, and distinct design elements. A major connector is the transit, which links the different neighborhoods, while the eight stations form hubs for the neighborhoods. Similarly, the bike and pedestrian pathways provide access for commuters and opportunity for recreation. A quarter of the railroad and transit tracks are covered, providing noise attenuation for adjacent housing, as well as additional parkland in densely populated areas. The numerous recreational facilities include tot lots, pools, basketball and tennis courts, street hockey rinks, and open space for running, scrimmage games or other spirited activities. Additionally, there are two amphitheatres, and eleven areas designated for community gardening, which along with happenings, such as the annual Wake Up the Earth festival on the first Saturday in May, bring a diversity of uses and spontaneity to the parkland. The indigenous plantings, such as rhododendrons, Crab Apple, Sycamore Poplar and Dogwood trees, along with many other floras provide pleasurable landscapes to augment the built environment. This flora also cleans our air, by being the lungs for our neighborhoods. The granite embankment, which was previously the community’s canvas to protest I-95, now serves as edging and seating, linking the park, from Back Bay Station to the Forest Hills Station.

ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED with the SWC PARK

The Parkland Management Advisory Committee (PMAC)
PMAC, created during the planning process, in the 1970s, with input from the State Legislature, MBTA, and citizens, has been an active player in the management and oversight of the park: it is the voice of the people to the DCR. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month, and rotate between the three sections. During the first part of the meeting public safety issues are discussed with the police, and community concerns round out the meeting. Contact: Janet Hunkel, President jhunkel@aol.com.

The Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy (SWCPC) The Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy is a nonprofit, 501(C)3 organization with a mission is to restore and enrich the park. The Conservancy leads fundraising for the park, frequent volunteer days and volunteer events and coordinates a network of volunteers who maintain gardens and landscaping in the park as park stewards. You can help with a tax-deductible contribution or volunteer to help maintain the park. Contact: Franco Campanello, President fcamp195@gmail.com.

Carleton Court Dog Park
The dog park was initiated, designed, and financed by dog owners. It is a lively, fenced in site where dogs can socialize and play off-leash. It is located at the end of Holyoke St., between Dartmouth and W. Newton Streets. Contacts: Marcia Sassoon mfsassoon@yahoo.com or Jamie Demas jdemas@bedfordstmartins.com.

The Community Garden Council
The Community Garden Council deals with concerns related to the eleven community gardens. Contacts: Tracey O’Brien Tracy_O'Brien@facing.org, Betsy Johnson betsy@bgjohnson.com.

The Mission Hill Basketball and Tennis Courts Project
Roxbury residents are coordinating with DCR to provide sports lights on the three basketball and two tennis courts, located on the deck between the Ruggles and Roxbury Crossing Stations. Contact: Matilda Drayton at matilda_drayton@hotmail.com.

Bike and Pedestrian Paths
Path users monitor the use and maintenance of the paths, and make recommendations for improvements. Contact: Jeffrey Ferris at jeffrey@ferriswheelsbikeshop.com.