Filed under: North End
NORTH END– On a recent weekday afternoon, a flood of college students and adults making their trip home from the North End shuffle through the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway around 5 p.m. But unlike bustling fall afternoons, these afternoon commuters don’t stop and mingle in the once warm stretch of green lawn that has now turned desolate in the cold Boston winter season.
At a time when other Boston parks begin the holiday season with winter activities, the newly built greenway faces its second winter season and struggles to find use for the greenway to benefit North End residents and visitors.
“With the park out here instead of the raised highway, people are coming in here a lot more often,” Christine Scanlon said, a server at local restaurant Mother Anna’s. “Tourists wouldn’t really walk under the highway before. But I don’t know how the winter is going to change that.”
In the summer, the greenway is draws visitors to the green lawn and fountains. The greenway’s conservancy recently finished the task of placing sea wall granite stones around the fountains in the park to protect the equipment in the winter months.
Other parks in the area, like the Boston Common, adapts to winter months by offering winter activities to residents like ice skating and draws visitors to the area with light displays. The Boston Common is also an integral part of First Night Boston, the citywide New Year’s celebration.
Some residents think even through the winter months, the greenway could continue to be a popular spot for North End residents.
“I don’t know if it really will affect residents in the winter,” said Meghan Robinson, a 21-year-old resident of the North End. “I always see people out there with their dogs so I think that will continue even when it gets cold out.”
While the cold weather has left the greenway void of visitors on most days, the calendar on the greenway’s website is also empty, with no events planned until January. Statements issued by the conservancy said that their main concern is planning for the upcoming spring season.
“The horticultural team has put the parks to bed for the season and we now turn our attention to lessons learned from our first year in operation, and plan for 2010,” the official Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy website said.
Filed under: Jamaica Plain
JAMAICA PLAIN — The neighborhood of Jamaica Plain went out to vote on the 22 of September, for the municipal preliminary election. About 24 percent of the residents participated. Even though this is a high number for the preliminaries, it still represents a very small amount of voters in the community. This issue raises concerns about the political participation in the area.
“Most people didn’t vote,” said Sandra Story, editor and publisher of the Jamaica Plain Gazette, “This is the way it always is in preliminary elections, but it is a small number.”
The results showed that Mayor Thomas M. Menino was the most popular candidate. City Councilor Sam Yoon had a mere 25 fewer votes than Menino, according to the Jamaica Plain Gazette. Residents seemed to favor Menino’s experience.
Joel Ohalloas, member of the Agassiz Community Center, told me, “He’s been mayor for 16 years, so for 16 years people have heard his name. They vote for what they know.”
Menino’s long presence in the mayor’s office has led some residents to support Flaherty and Yoon, not for their campaign, but for “something different.”
“New broom sweeps plain,” said James Devaney, 64, retired, “I like Flaherty. I don’t know why. Politicians should be Irish!”
Elderly crowds support Menino for his services and commitment to his word.
“He don’t tell stories,” said Valerie Smart. “He gets things done, stands for what he says, so he is well, popular. I like him a lot and hope they vote for him.”
Yoon’s strategy was to connect with minorities and people without resources, but wealthier areas in the community support him, while the poorest sectors favor Menino.
Regardless of which candidate Jamaica Plain’s residents support, the expectations for future plans in the community remain similar.
“We need gun control, and to get rid of violence,” Smart said.
They worry about violence; and the number of homeless people in the streets stand as a priority to be covered by the mayor.
“Get the muggers off the street,” Smith said. “We have issues with security. Cops are great, though. We just need more.”
Even though the sectors of the community favor different candidates, Menino’s presence is still well appreciated for his previous work in the community.
“He does a lot,” Devaney said. “He puts kids in school, plus he’s a happy guy.”