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Mattapan Square Main Streets still searching for executive director

Posted by Patrick Rosso  August 22, 2012 09:05 AM

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(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

Mattapan Square, along Blue Hill Avenue, as the Blue Hills rise in the distance.

Months after the original May deadline set by the Mattapan Square Main Streets to find the group an executive director, the organization is still without one.

Boston Main Streets
is a federally funded, citywide program that works to revitalize commercial districts through a combination of technical, financial, and design support.

In November 2010, the city officially accepted Mattapan's application to become a recognized Main Streets District, making it the 20th Main Street group in the city.

But before the group can move forward and begin the revitalization process, an executive director must be in place to help guide development and represent the group.

Brain McPherson, vice president of the group’s board and the chair of the committee to find an executive director, said in an email that there are no new updates and that the position has not been filled.

Although the group has taken its time setting up and organizing, Stephen Gilman, program director for Boston Main Streets, said with the financial climate and less city support he is not surprised the group has taken so long.

“I’m not really too surprised,” said Gilman, who was reached by phone. “I would rather they make sure they are ready to take on an executive director and have the financial backing to do so.”

Currently the group is working to acquire non-profit status, so it will be able to collect more funding and secure the financial backing it needs to hire and retain a staff. According to Gilman, the group recently received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that its application to become a 501(c)(3) has been expedited, giving members hope that they soon will be a fully-functioning non-profit.

“Our hope is this will open the doors for them to talk to the corporations and banks in the area, which typically fund Main Street groups,” said Gilman. “But they’re at a disadvantage because they are coming in at a time when we as city can’t fund them as much.”

That disadvantage, partially caused by the recession and tightening budgets, means that the Mattapan Square Main Streets, the first one created since 2001, must rely more on outside funds and prove to the city that it can support itself before any city funds are handed over.

“We still have to remember the board is a volunteer board, but the people on it are determined and really want this to succeed,” said Gilman.

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