SEEN FROM THE HILL : OPEN LETTER TO ROSIE’S PLACE

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To Ena FoxKate Sullivansmarsh@rosiesplace.org and 34 More…
Jun 20 at 3:43 PM

Thanks Ena,

Your point and perspective is an excellent one!

There’s nothing wrong with a social service organization helping folks in need renting space in our community. Indeed, it’s welcomed if the lion’s share of the benefit belongs to us.

But the facts tell a very different story. Since the spring selling season started, prices for property in the Highland Park/Fort Hill area are up 20-25%. That gets noticed!

Many support the good works at Rosie’s Place and Pine Street. But when will we recognize big institutional expansion for what it is: an opportunity to grow an organization’s assets through investments that take advantage of escalating real estate prices, which in turn improve that organization’s business portfolio?

And expanding social services is the elephant in the room that everybody is comfortable ignoring these days. All the while, somehow it’s OK for the city to fail at educating our kids, fail to be inclusive when hiring, award lucrative construction contracts in our neighborhoods to businesses outside of the city, or fail to recognize a fair days work with a fair days wage . The sobering reality for us is our lifeline to stay and exist in this city is increasingly on social services and non-profits that have become saturated in our neighborhood in lieu of every other development plan – including sorely needed business development and a healthy TAX base.
Again, I think many of us have no problem with social service non-profits. But why gentrify possible mom and pop businesses and a host of home-grown social service non-profits that have been doing great work in our neighborhood for years?

If Rosie’s Place or Pine Street are committed to helping folks in need renting space in our community, they could support Hawthorne Youth and Community Center (http://www.catalogueforphilanthropy.org/ma/2005/hawthorne_youth_5618.htm) and the Cooper Center with badly needed funds to continue the great work each has done for decades! This wouldn’t use up sparse retail space in John Eliot Square for local business folks already feeling the space pinch Dudley (Dudley Square fixture feeling sting of gentrification: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/17/dudley-fixture-floyd-williams-feeling-sting-gentrification-his-botanic-business-faces-closure/2DGLgqAk2a2vcPuJtCzWEM/story.html). This can be done by writing a check.

In the end, the choice for the retail space at 10 John Eliot Square will be made by voting members of the Norfolk House Condo Association. That said, this issue and discussion is much bigger than a Condo Association. We as a neighborhood should be calling on our elected officials to hear the all the concerns of the neighborhood.

Thanks again for your engagement!

—- Rodney Singleton / SEEN FROM THE HILL

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