Community Projects

Volunteer To Become a Literacy Tutor
Neighbor, educator, and committed volunteer Virginia Marcotte spoke at our October 10 community meeting to discuss the inspiring work of the various organizations within…read more

Springhouse Needs Us!
The JHA is proud to work with Kathy Foley, the Executive Director of Springhouse, a non-for-profit retirement community. For years, our friends and…read more

Eleanor P. McDonough Memorial
An inspiration to all of us, Ellie was an active community leader through the years, and a long time officer and past president of…read more

Jamaica Plain Branch Library Renovation and Addition
The Jamaica Plain Branch Library (JPBL) at 12 Sedgwick Street is one of the busiest of the 27 Boston Public Library branches. The JPBL building is in dire need of renovation and…read more

Save the Lewis-Dawson Farmhouse
Cited as one of Massachusetts’ Ten Most Endangered Historic Resources in 2005 by Preservation Massachusetts…read more

Volunteer To Become a Literacy Tutor

Neighbor, educator, and committed volunteer Virginia Marcotte spoke at our October 10 community meeting to discuss the inspiring work of the various organizations within the JP – Egleston Square Adult Ed Network. The Network is actively seeking volunteer literacy and ESL tutors. The organization provides training and curriculum guidelines. According to Ginnie, the need for volunteers is great. To learn about becoming a literacy or ESL tutor at one of several groups within the network, contact Ginnie Marcotte.

Manning School Wish List

The Jamaica Hills Association warmly welcomes new Manning School principal, Sara Stone, to the community. Ms. Stone, who hails from the RISE Community School in Oakland, California, has been very responsive to neighborhood concerns and continues to express her desire to collaborate with Moss Hill neighbors. In turn, many generous residents have asked Ms. Stone how we can assist the Manning School. Thanks to Board member Anne Connolly’s coordination, we are sponsoring a drive for much-needed supplies and resources on the Manning’s Wish List. Please drop off donations at the Manning School, 130 Louder’s Lane. Consider bringing your donation to the Manning when you vote on Election Day, November 4!

Your contribution is greatly appreciated!

Springhouse Needs Us!

The JHA warmly welcomes Kathy Foley, the new Executive Director of Springhouse, a not-for-profit retirement community. For years, our friends and neighbors at Springhouse have graciously offered meeting rooms and refreshments at their beautiful facility at 44 Allandale Road for our monthly community meetings. We are fortunate to have an opportunity to reciprocate: Get to know the wonderful staff and residents by becoming a much-needed volunteer at Springhouse.

Springhouse needs the volunteers to:

* Meet with residents once a week to discuss current events, books, magazine articles

* Provide graphic design services such as redesigning the website

* Create an email newsletter and mailing list

* Organize the libraries

* Provide live music performances, especially in December: vocalists, singing groups, instrumentalists, quartets—-variety is welcome! Consider rehearsing at Springhouse; the residents would be delighted and appreciative—-and space is free!

* Offer gardening services

* And more!

To offer your help, please contact Nadine Krasnow at nkrasnow@springhouseinfo.org.

Eleanor P. McDonough Memorial

An inspiration to all of us, Ellie McDonough was an active community leader through the years, and a long time officer and past president of the Jamaica Hills Association. Ellie was a fence mender, a visionary and a great asset to our neighborhood. She saw the bright side of every issue and had a gentle but firm way of directing the course of our Association. The island at Woodland Road, Moss Hill Road and Pond Street was dedicated in the memory of Ellie McDonough on June 10, 2006.

This effort was originated and spearheaded by JHA Board Member Kevin Leary. Kevin raised funds, coordinated plantings, brought the appropriate public agencies together and confirmed the date of the ceremony with the Mayor’s Office. It is fitting that our appreciation for Ellie be memorialized by the stone marker that has been placed on the circle in her honor.

The community is especially grateful to the kind neighbors who volunteer to keep the island beautifully maintained all year round.

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Jamaica Plain Branch Library Renovation and Addition

The Jamaica Plain Branch Library (JPBL) at 12 Sedgwick Street is one of the busiest of the 27 Boston Public Library branches. The JPBL building is in dire need of renovation and expansion because it is 95 years old and the interior has not been remodeled since 1963. Only one of the library’s three levels is handicap accessible and there are no handicap accessible bathrooms.

jp library

In the fall of 2005 a Library Task Force was created by Mayor Menino in response to a grass roots petition signed by over 1,200 residents asking that the JPBL be renovated and expanded. The Task Force’s purpose is to devise a master plan for the library’s renovation and expansion and, in conjunction with that plan, figure out the best placement for improvements to make the building fully accessible to patrons.”I decided to spearhead the push for improvements to the JPBL when my 6-year-old son became confined to a wheelchair. He soon lost his desire to go to the library because he knew he could not go to the bathroom once he got there,” said JHA Board Member Don Haber, co-chair of the Friends of the JPBL and one of the Task Force members selected to represent the Jamaica Plain community.

Over the past several months, the Friends of the JPBL and the Library Task Force members from the Jamaica Plain community have volunteered hundreds of hours of their time toward the goal of improving library services for Jamaica Plain. After a summer hiatus, the Task Force has resumed meetings this fall.

If you would like to support the JPBL or get involved with the renovation and expansion planning, you are encouraged to join the Friends of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library (forms available at the circulation desk) or contact the Friends by email at jplibraryfriends@rcn.com.

Recent Updates

July 6, 2007: JP Library Granted $8.5 Million
The City Council passed the FY08 budget last week (which runs from July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008). Part of the budget is the capital projects budget, which authorizes money for capital projects in the next five years.

Because of the continued support and efforts of Councilor Tobin, the Friends of the JP Library, and library patrons in the JP community, the JP library project received a lot of attention this budget cycle. Due to all of the calls and letters to City Councilors and the Mayor requesting funding for the project, we were successful in ensuring that the project will continue to go forward.

Here is what was agreed to in the recently passed city budget:

1. The “Project Mission” description has been changed to read: “Construct an addition and renovate the existing branch to facilitate program delivery and improve access.”

2. The Request for Proposals for an architect to complete the final design phase of the project will go out in April 2008;

3. $500,000 has been put in the FY09 budget (which runs from July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2008) for the design phase of the project and spending for design will begin in FY09; and

4. A future authorization of $8 million has been put into the current capital plan to fund construction of the renovation project.

Many, many thanks to each of you for your help and support for this project. We need to continue to be supportive advocates for this project to ensure it continues to move forward. Email the Friends of the JP Branch Library to learn how you can participate: jplibraryfriends@rcn.com

Save the Lewis-Dawson Farmhouse

Cited as one of Massachusetts’ Ten Most Endangered Historic Resources in 2005 by Preservation Massachusetts, the future of the 180 year-old LEWIS-DAWSON FARMHOUSE at 1090 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain should be protected by Boston Landmarks Commission designation. It is one of the few remaining links to Boston’s rich agricultural history and a rare example in Boston of Federal Period farmhouse architecture.

Lewis Farmhouse

…………………………………………………..circa 1900

The antique farmhouse is currently owned by Harvard University and is located on the grounds of Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum. It antedates the Arboretum by 50 years. Long used as the residence of the superintendent of the Arboretum, it has stood vacant for the past decade. The Arnold Arboretum had planned to demolish the farmhouse to make room for a large garage and maintenance facility as part of its Institutional Master Plan, but changed its mind in November 2005 in response to strong community pressure and promised not to destroy the farmhouse. Still, it remains precariously vulnerable to “demolition by neglect” through damage by weather and animals, arson, and vandalism. Harvard University has refused to designate a constructive use for the building and has not made public any plan for its restoration and maintenance.

JHA Board Member and Harvard Medical School faculty member, Dr. Stephen Lerman, has taken the lead in a campaign to save this valuable architectural resource. As a result of his committee’s hard work, the Boston Landmarks Commission unanimously voted at a hearing on September 26, 2006, to accept a landmark petition for further study.

The JHA has been actively supported by the Mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, the Boston City Council (unanimous resolution on July 13, 2005), Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, and many historic preservation and neighborhood organizations. The Boston Globe, the Jamaica Plain Gazette, and the JP Bulletin have provided press coverage of the campaign to save the farmhouse. Collectively, the belief is that Harvard University, as owner of this property, has a responsibility to preserve it for future generations of Boston citizens.

Download the full text of the petition submitted to the Boston Landmarks Commission, as well as letters of support from government and community leaders. At this critical time, we encourage the community to write letters of support to the Boston Landmarks Commission.

Ms. Ellen Lipsey, Executive Director
Boston Landmarks Commission
Room 805
One City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02201

To learn more about how you can support this worthy campaign, email Dr. Lerman at savethefarmhouse@jamaicahills.org.

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