Here’s a link to the 51-page action plan that Mayor Flynn’s Public Facilities Department (PFD) put together for Highland Park in 1989. The plan sounds similar in many ways to what we hear today. PFD wanted to build affordable housing, maintain neighborhood stability, preserve the unique character of our neighborhood including preserving and maintaining our green space, and involve residents in decision-making. Sound familiar?
The plan lists dozens of abandoned city-owned parcels, many of which are still vacant today, others which have only been developed in the last few years. Almost laughably, PFD lays out a strategy to develop most of them through a six-month disposition process. Had that happened, we’d be celebrating the 20th anniversary of 12-16 units units in the vacant lots across from the new police station, 25 units in the large vacant lot on Blanchard and Bartlett next to the Norfolk House, 32-35 units on Cedar between Centre and Highland, and 12-15 units in the vacant lots on Valentine.
Also, if everything had gone according to plan we’d be celebrating the 20th anniversary of a revitalized Dudley Square, there would be a hotel and office complex on Parcel 18 in front of Ruggles T station, and the mosque would be about 15 years older. Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
One last item of note is the proposed walking trail from Eliot Square to the standpipe, an idea that first came up in the mid-1970s as part of RAP’s efforts to redevelop the area. This is a great idea and perhaps it’s time we brought that, along with some of the other long-delayed developments, to fruition.