April PNA Meeting

Commitment Cards to Improve the Point!

Commitment Cards to Improve the Point!

The April Neighborhood meeting was a collaboration between the Point Neighborhood Association, the North Shore Community Development Coalition, and multiple local organizations, institutions, and citizens to commit to improving the neighborhood by taking concrete steps to implement the Point Neighborhood Visioning Plan, completed last year.

Some precise accomplishments and next steps discussed include:

  • The Point will be on the National Register for Historic Places
  • Enhance the existing four parks in the neighborhood
  • The grant towards a splash pad – an interactive water play fountain – was announced. It will be located in Mary Jane Lee Park.
  • Employ park ambassadors to enrich the park aesthetics and experience for residents
  • Community gardens to stimulate, foster, and enhance stewardship
  • Enhance the diversity and quantity of affordable housing
  • An analysis of Shetland Park Businesses
  • More bilingual workshops at the NSCDC
  • Work to devise strategies for improving business opportunities along the two main corridors: Congress and Lafayette Streets
  • Celebrate the history of the neighborhood

Of the attendees, it seems like about half were Point residents, while the others were interested parties representing institutions and organizations. Bringing these great ideas, initiatives, and discussions to more residents remains a significant step to take. There are a lot opportunities for creative engagement in the community from the business and entrepreneurial to the artistic – get in touch if you want to be part of any of these endeavors!

Growing Community at Woolson Street Lot

w02 Collective social consciousness of waste, sustainable resources, economics, and pollution have influenced stakeholders to take a broader view of many design professions, especially architecture, which uses the greatest amount of resources of human enterprises. Indeed,  LEED (the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) helps establish standards of responsible resource making and gathering at the onset of design, while the temporal scope of architecture has also expanded beyond the finished building; design professionals need to take responsibility for the future maintenance and, even, potential disposal of the structure. Maintenance of a private residence requires the ultimate initiative of the owner; for public projects, the community is tasked with ongoing stewardship. Uncared for parks demonstrate that municipal trash pick-up isn’t enough. So, in addition to the materials, and the foresight, we need to also design for engagement; community building is a social and spatial problem, and creative design can aid the rigorous community organization of so many neighborhood leaders, activists, and planners.

w03SPSP was happy to be part of such an effort of Saturday, May 3rd in Mattapan in collaboration with the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC),  Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN), the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, and neighbors. We were also delighted to re-use four bright orange frames initially created for another project.

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In tandem with the “Boston Shines” city-wide clean-up effort, we erected creative signage on the lot to communicate the message that the planned community garden needs more gardeners. Design for social engagement is a compelling design challenge; the project is often a temporary installation, with no budget, infused with contextual issues and histories, inherently political, that seeks to reach a diverse number of people in circumstances that often hinder civic participation. On the Woolson Street lot, while volunteers cleaned up trash and weeded around daffodils, we posted signs that signal the beginning of the transformation of a lot that has a history of tragedy, and a desired future of community, safety, commemoration, and beautiful gardens!

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The finished signs, including an orange board where all participants signed their names.

If you would like to support the community gardens proposed at the Woolson Street Lot – support the project at Make Architecture Happen! 

PNA March Meeting

PNA Meeting at the On Point space

PNA Meeting at the On Point space

The Point Neighborhood Association holds meetings on the last Monday of each month, recently at the On Point center on Leavitt Street. All are welcome!

Last Monday’s meeting began with refreshments and a review of our local government. The main guest was Larry Ramdin of the Health Department, who continued the effort to distribute information. (The lack of knowledge of services offered, from available loans to the dual stream mandatory recycling system, persists as a barrier to civic involvement.) Larry noted certain rights:

“If you have an issue that your landlord is not taking care of, call my department.  Everyone is entitled to good housing.”

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“Due to people working long hours! people don’t get to vaccination hours; we want to plan services around what will work for people.”

An example of a city service designed to meet people’s needs is the consolidation of street sweeping with electronic waste, like television sets, pick up; for the effort to work, residents need to be aware of the service offered, Larry noted.  Lucy and the PNA said that as soon as a date is set, there will be no problem in spreading the word. When a resident asked for street sweeping to occur per side of the street, rather than on both sides at once, which causes parking hardships in the already dense area, Councilman Bob McCarthy noted that in the Point neighborhood, the City of Salem also employs leaf-blower services to gather sidewalk debris. This service is unique for The Point and precludes the possibility of one sided street sweeping. The service also only happens twice a season, unless specially scheduled for more times on a street by street basis.

In general wind blown trash is a problem; as are absentee landlords. But the combination results in a general lack of accountability. Larry suggested that devoted citizens could instill a sense of responsibility by persistently picking up trash, especially in front of neighborhood members that may have dropped the rubbish. The amorphous, but necessary desire is a change in behavior of some of the heaviest users of the neighborhood’s public space. I noted that the Palmer Street “Imagine a Lot” project did instill a civic awareness, at least on that lot durning the time of the project since the community participated in its making.

There are many efforts to “clean up” The Point, including proposed strategic development on Congress Street. This Thursday, the North Shore Community Development Coalition organizes the fun and effective Youth Get To The Point Day. Cleaning up a neighborhood is a form of stewardship, perhaps the gateway practice to deeper forms of citizenship too. For clean up problems on all days, make sure to contact Larry and the Health Department: (978) 741-1800, or walk over to 120 Washington Street, fourth floor.

Joint the next PNA meeting, April 28 at 6pm, for the Neighborhood Launch Party to implement the information gleaned during last year’s Point Visioning and Action Plan.

SAF2014, HulaArt, and so much more at PEM/PM’s Artopia!

HulaArt Artist Row View 02For a taste of the Salem Arts Festival, come to the Peabody Essex Museum this Thursday, March 20th from 6 – 9pm!

The museum take over will include music, arts, and acts from all over! The Salem Arts Festival will be well represented by a Spice Painting demonstration with Heather Reid in the Atrium, using donated spices from the ongoing collection effort at The Picklepot, and with our own Hula Art! This is your chance to make a piece of public art history – the first large scale installation over Artists’ Row coming June 7th…. so make some HulaArt this Thursday! Hula Art instructors from SPSP and the Phoenix School!

~Free for Salem MA residents…. and well worth the expenditure for everyone else ~

 

How to HulaArt!

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HulaArt canopy over Artists’ Row? Indeed!

Be a HulaArtist at the Salem Art Festival 2014, June 6-8. Info here and photos courtesy of Social Palates of the Phoenix School students workshopping these hoops of art to help us understand the best way to transform recycled and found objects into HulaArt!

HulaArt How To

Postcard Narratives: Roast Beef

The winter is long, the sidewalks slippery, and public spaces, not entirely at rest, are in hibernation. This is the season to reflect on some past stories: Neighborhood Narratives. View all the stories and Get to the Point here

This story from Mayor Kim Driscoll – Do you remember Larry’s Roast Beef? Have you been to Celia’s?

Story 8 Image Story 8 Text

Join the Story Challenge! 

Postcard Narratives: Shoveling Snow

The winter is long, the sidewalks slippery, and public spaces, not entirely at rest, are in hibernation. This is the season to reflect on some past stories: Neighborhood Narratives. View all the stories and Get to the Point here!

This one is from Point resident and artist, Sue Grillo. And it is about snow!

Story 1 ImageStory 1 Text

 

Join the Story Challenge!