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Bartlett Yard to host arts and community events

Posted by Patrick Rosso  February 20, 2013 12:16 PM

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Bartlett Yard, the dilapidated 8.6-acre former MBTA bus yard in Roxbury may see some new life before it is eventually turned into a mixed-use development by owners Nuestra Comunidad.

Jason Turgeon, who has organized the outdoor art festival FIGMENT Boston in the past and lives in the neighborhood, has set his sights on turning the parcel into a temporary outdoor arts and community space.

“One day I just cold called these guys to see if we could use it and they said 'yes,' ” said Turgeon.

Turgeon said he envisions using parts of the yard, while Nuestra gathers financing, for a community arts space, allowing local youths to paint murals, community groups to hold cultural events, and dog owners to get their pooches out of the house.

“We want to take this space that’s not great right now and make it better,” said Turgeon. “It’s a celebration for the community.”

From painting huge murals that stretch across the vacant buildings to constructing a seating area and inviting in food trucks, Turgeon hopes to add life to a space that has in the past couple of years gathered trash and been used to store construction equipment.

With Jeremy Alliger, a local events producer, Turgeon has launched the group “Events at Bartlett Yard” to help organize activities and spark interest in the project.

“I’m open to doing anything at the site as long as it’s supported by the community,” said Turgeon. “I live in this neighborhood with amazing people, but we don’t get a lot of chances to meet each other. My main hope is to make this a spot for the community.”

With a new website, Turgeon is building momentum and expects to launch the first event at the site in May.

While the idea has gained support, it wouldn’t be possible without Nuestra.

“The yard will be blank so while we are waiting for funding it will get use,” said Mark Paulo Ramos Matel, a project manager for Nuestra.

Nuestra will temporarily allow “Events at Bartlett Yard” to use outdoor space at the massive yard while construction plans are drawn up and permits are obtained for the Bartlett Place development.

Eventually the development will hold 313 units of market-rate and affordable housing, along with retail space and commercial space.

Designated the developer of the site in 2007 by the city, Nuestra purchased the property with Windale Development in 2010.

Construction will happen in four phase. The first phase, which will construct 42 market-rate and 60 affordable houses, is slated to begin by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

“We’re creating a creative village,” said Matel. “We see Bartlett Yard as a destination.”

Eventually 12 buildings will be built at the site to hold 22,153-square-feet of commercial space, 31,322-square-feet of retail space, 369,311-square-feet of residential space, 33,870-square-feet of “structured” parking, and 15,500-square-feet of public space.

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

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