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Re-envision Fields Corner initiative looks to generate plan for community

Posted by Patrick Rosso  March 1, 2013 06:20 PM

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After a study was published by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology class detailing the opportunities, assets, and challenges in Dorchester’s Fields Corner neighborhood, the community has been working to turn what was put on paper into tangible action.

Commissioned by the Viet-AID Community Center in 2012, the center and its partners hope the information stimulates the Re-envision Fields Corner initiative.

“Most other neighborhoods have a master plan and an idea about how they want to move forward with the community,” said Nam Pham, the executive director of Viet-AID. “We don’t have anything like that in Fields Corner and we want to provide an opportunity to look at the big picture.”

The study highlighted the importance and need for affordable housing in the community; the diversity of the neighborhood with its Vietnamese, Irish, Caribbean, and Latino communities; and it’s busy commercial district.

On Thursday, residents, stakeholders, and local organizations gathered for the second time to begin to hash out a plan for the community.

“At first we just talked in very general terms about what the opportunities and challenges were,” said Pham. “We hope after a couple more meetings we will be able to generate a steering committee with local individuals and community leaders.”

Residents and area organizations, including the Fields Corner Main Streets, the Boston Police Department, and the Fields Corner CDC, generated ideas Thursday on ways to tackle challenges in the neighborhood.

Many saw neighborhood air-quality, some of the city’s worst, as an area that could stimulate both positive impacts for the community and interest from residents.

“I figure we could put up some roof-top gardens,” said Tien Pham, a 29-year-old Dorchester resident.

“Maybe local companies could support a program that encourages public transit or bikes. I think that could help air quality,” said Hang Nguyen, a 23-year-old Dorchester resident and Viet-AID employee.

Others suggested the area’s youth as a source of inspiration.

“We have a lot of kids and young adults who live and work in the area, but no specific vision for the development of the youth,” said Phi Tran, a liaison for City Councilor Frank Baker.

The neighborhood's image was also a hot topic, with many discussing ways to not only create a more positive image of the neighborhood, but bring in people from outside.

From festivals, cultural events, temple renovations, and commercial additions, many said the community has the resources to present itself as an asset not just to Dorchester, but the city as a whole.

Although the approximately 25 attendees at the meeting seemed excited for the opportunity to generate a plan the group still faces the challenge of bringing in more residents and groups as it works to lay the foundation for the future of the community.

To find out more about the group or how to get involved, click here.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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