In the Press

Urban Edge Ice Rink and Recreation Center

Jackson Square Ice Rink Community Meeting Presentation 1-24-12

Click here to view the presentation from the January 24, 2012 Community Meeting. 

Nets State Funding

Urban Edge’s long-planned Jackson Square redevelopment project has won a significant boost with a $5.6 million commitment from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as the first major funding to help build a 38,000-square-foot ice rink/turf field and recreation center.

The facility is the centerpiece of plans to revitalize a key neighborhood at the crossroads of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.

A private fund-raising effort will begin early next year to secure additional funding required to start construction in spring of 2013, said Chrystal Kornegay, President and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Edge, the nonprofit community development organization active in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, said today.

“We have worked on this vital community project for a very long time, and now thanks to the Commonwealth we will have some real momentum to see the doors open to youth and the rest of the community in the near future,” Kornegay said.

In the meantime, other significant elements of the Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative, including a housing and retail complex next to the Orange Line MBTA Station, are expected to get under way.

“I am delighted that the Commonwealth has committed substantial funding to ensure the Jackson Square Recreation Center is built,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Having a place to engage youth from Roxbury and Jamaica Plan year-round is critical to the neighborhood, and the new facility is a key component to the revitalization of Jackson Square.”

The skating rink and recreation center will provide a place for Roxbury and Jamaica Plain youth to gather and play, filling a gap created years ago when two neighborhood skating facilities – Kelly Rink on the Jamaicaway and Cass Rink on Washington Street – were closed. The temporary Kelly Rink, an outdoor facility relocated in another section of Jamaica Plain, is open for 10 weeks of the year, and Friends of the Kelly Rink were partners with Urban Edge in urging the Commonwealth to support a new facility.

“We’re thrilled this funding has come through,” said Steve Glickel, vice president of Friends of the Kelly Rink. “This is the culmination of 14 years of advocacy. We’ve been struggling and working to provide this opportunity for the youth of our community, and it looks like our dreams are about to become a reality.”

The new facility at Jackson Square will include an ice rink for use seven months of the year, an indoor turf field for the remaining five months, an indoor walking track above the ice and turf surface, function rooms, a video arcade, and a facility serving healthy snacks. The architect is Bargmann Hendrie+Archetype, Inc. of Boston.

“This is a huge win for young people in and around the Jackson Square area,” said Representative Liz Malia of the 11th Suffolk District. “This project is not only a major part of the overall revitalization of Jackson Square. It will also provide immediate economic development opportunities and long-term youth jobs. This is proof of the Governor Deval Patrick’s commitment to our urban youth.”

State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz said, “This project reflects the incredible promise and ingenuity of the Jamaica Plain community, and of folks like the Friends of the Kelly Rink, who have organized for so long to get a permanent structure.”

“The Jackson Square recreation center will complement the recently completed Cass Center and close a gap in the accessibility that local youth and families have to the kind of organized recreational and after-school activities enjoyed in wealthier communities,” Chang-Diaz said.


BACKROUND ON THE RECREATION CENTER

The new recreation center is the fulfillment of a promise that the Cass and Kelly rinks would be replaced, though it has taken longer than expected because of funding challenges and general difficulties in the economy.

Research in the community showed that a skating rink and recreation center was both needed and supported by residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

A “demand analysis” and feasibility study were completed by Urban Edge over the last year or so. The new center won approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority earlier this year.

A 103-unit residential and retail complex is planned as the first piece of Jackson Square to start, in the near future, across Columbus Avenue from the Recreation Center, at 225 Centre St. Then Jackson Commons, a complex of apartments and retail space adjacent to the corner where the recreation center, will be built, incorporating the current Urban Edge headquarters building.

Those three buildings will complete Phase One of the Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative. The two housing complexes will include both affordable and competitively priced units. At Columbus Avenue and Centre Street, Jackson Square was one of the areas of the city most devastated when demolition was done decades ago for the Southwest Expressway, which was never built. The master developer is Jackson Square Partners LLC, which is comprised of Urban Edge, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, and the Hyde Square Task Force.

Already, Jackson Square Partners has secured and spent about $3.1 million of state MORE grant funds for public infrastructure, utilities, and site work preparing for a new Jackson Square. The funds supported planning for Phase 1 infrastructure work that included a new bus signal and crosswalk at Columbus Avenue, sewer lines, a retaining wall so the new residences at 225 Centre can be built, realigning the intersection, signals at Centre and Lamartine, a sidewalk along Ritchie Street, street lighting, trees, and a reconfigured parking to improve pedestrian at the corner of Ritchie and Columbus.

Jackson Square Partners met with community leaders and groups, city and state organizations, and potential users of the facility over the last two years. The new center will be affordable, accessible, and financially sustainable, and it will create job opportunities for youth and other residents of the neighborhood.

Developers asking city for permit extension Jackson Square project seeks six-month delay while funding is found               
By Casey Ross Globe Staff / February 18, 2009 Bookmark and Share

Developers of a $250 million mixed-use development in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury are moving to delay construction for at least six months, citing economic woes that have stalled billions of dollars in projects across the city. Top executives involved in the Jackson Square development said they will ask city planners tomorrow to extend their permits until August, when they hope public and private funding will be available to proceed with the first phase of the multiyear project that will include 430 housing units - up to 200 of which would be affordable.

Funds for projects like Jackson Square have dried up during the economic downturn, leaving developers unable to move forward with construction.
The Jackson Square project faces particular challenges due to the lack of investors willing to invest in government-backed affordable housing developments.

Public agencies that raise money to finance those projects have been unable to raise funds from traditional sources, creating delays in affordable housing construction nationwide.

Still, the Jackson Square developers, a team that includes community groups and the firm Mitchell Properties, said they at least want to start work on $10 million of street and sidewalk improvements needed to support the project.

The Patrick administration, which previously granted $3 million to the project, is now weighing a request from the developers for $7 million in federal stimulus money.

"This will be a transformative project for this part of the city," said Bart Mitchell, president of Mitchell Properties in Boston. "It will generate construction jobs and deliver on a community vision to create housing and infrastructure improvements in this neighborhood."
  [Read More]
@ Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.


Boston Globe: Jackson Square rebuilding with an emphasis on green

By KIMBERLY SANFELIZ, November 23, 2008

As buildings rise on the vacant lots of Jackson Square over the next seven years, the neighborhood will see the typical additions: housing, retail and office spaces, and community centers. But there will also be some unusual sights, such as grass on the roofs of the new buildings, as part of the development plan’s green building standards.

Based on these features, the Jackson Square project has been designated a Silver Certified Plan by the US Green Building Council, under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, rating system. It’s the first project in the Northeast to receive such a designation as part of the building council’s LEED Neighborhood Development pilot program.

Noah Maslan, the director of real estate development for Urban Edge, one of the partners in the Jackson Square Master Plan project, said the group always planned to build green. The partners independently came up with 60 pages of green building guidelines, then compared several rating systems, including LEED, to see how environmentally sound their choices were. "We wanted to test our master plan against this nationally recognized system," Maslan said. Receiving LEED certification "was third-party verification of what we’re doing."

The pilot program that certified the Jackson Square project focuses on entire neighborhood designs, as opposed to single buildings. The new structures will be constructed to meet certain benchmarks, including using energy efficient lighting, recyclable building materials, and "green roofs," which help to control and filter storm-water runoff and also provide additional insulation.

James Hunt, head of environmental and energy services for Boston, said of the project, "What is unique here is that they’ve taken a neighborhood look. It’s not only good for the environment but good for public health."
[Read more]


Boston Globe: Looking good --Developers add modern touches to affordable homes
Among the humble brick and vinyl suburban-style houses along Hyde Park Avenue in Roslindale, the Hyde-Blakemore Condominiums stand out. The Hyde-Blakemore development consists of 13 units in two duplexes and a three-story building. The building shown here has solar panels on the roof.

There are the mahogany-louvered fences, the solar panels, and the flying-V roof line on the main building, which besides looking cool, channels rainwater into a landscaped rock garden.

Such modern flourishes are rare in a city that cleaves to architectural convention, but they are especially striking considering that Hyde-Blakemore was built for lower-income families. The newly completed buildings defy the tacky stereotype of government-subsidized housing, and for the architects and developers behind a new crop of affordable projects, this is the whole idea.
[To read more, click here];  [View Photo Gallery 1];  [View Photo Gallery 2]


JP Gazette: State puts up $3.1M for basics
Jul 11, 2008By DAVID TABER
Phase 1 development of housing, commercial, community space to cost about $115M
JACKSON SQ.—Well over a decade after revitalization was first proposed, state funding for the first part of the first phase of a major redevelopment plan for the Jamaica Plain/Roxbury border was announced June 27.

The funding came in the form of a $3.1 million state grant—a Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion jobs grant—to the city. Gov. Deval Patrick announced the grant award at a June 30 press conference at one of the parcels proposed for development on the corner of Columbus Avenue and Centre Street behind the Jackson Square T station. Mayor Thomas Menino and other state and local elected officials were also in attendance. [To read more, click here]


MetroBoston: City State Join to 'change the face' of Jackson Square
Jul 01, 2008

It is the pivotal intersection that serves as the unofficial gateway between Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, but for years, a dormant Jackson Square has waited patiently while other blocks in the city have been redeveloped. [To read more, click here]


JP Gazette: Neighbors--Lottery for affordable eco-friendly condos next week
May 19, 2008

The non-profit community development organization Urban Edge is nearing completion of 13 new condominium units on Hyde Park Avenue and Blakemore Street in Roslindale. The units, designed to be eco-friendly, will be sold to first-time homebuyers who will be selected by lottery next Thurs., May 22 at 6 p.m. at the Roslindale Community Center at 6 Cummins Highway.

“We have been hearing a lot of interest in the new homes. I have received several calls from qualified applicants who are very excited about the lottery,” said Urban Edge Project Manager Hong Ly. [To read more, click here]  For a sneak preview of units in-construction, click here


New York Times: In Boston, Residents Seek Face-to-Face Advice to Avoid Foreclosure
Mar 30, 2008

BOSTON — Carol Anderson has gone the entire winter without heat or hot water in her home here, because the payments on her adjustable rate mortgage have ballooned to $5,000 a month and she cannot afford paying a gas bill.
Desperate for help, Ms. Anderson attended a workshop on Saturday organized by Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston intended to help the city’s homeowners avoid foreclosure. Representatives from five mortgage companies met with clients to try to restructure loans. The workshop also offered classes on homeownership, credit ratings and other financial topics, in addition to providing residents with access to foreclosure prevention counselors. [To read more, click here]


JP Gazette: Urban Edge splits top jobs
Feb 08, 2008

By JOHN RUCH

Urban Edge has restructured its top leadership positions in the wake of a self-described “fiscal crisis” at the Jackson Square-based non-profit community development corporation (CDC).

Executive Director Mossik Hacobian, the organization’s public face for more than 20 years, will become president. Deputy Director Chrystal Kornegay will become chief executive officer (CEO). Both positions will report directly and equally to the Urban Edge board of directors.
[To read more click here]




Media Contact

Leroy Stoddard
Resource Development Manager
Urban Edge 
1542 Columbus Avenue, Ste 2
Boston, MA 02119
Tel: 617.989.9305 Fax: 617.427.8931
E-mail: lstoddard@urbanedge.org