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New community garden celebrated in Dorchester

A long-vacant lot on Geneva Avenue has been transformed into a beautiful community gathering space.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Food Forest Coalition (BFFC), the Farmers Collaborative, and local residents announced the grand opening of the Hero Hope Garden in Dorchester, located on a previously vacant lot on 424-428A Geneva Avenue. The residents and non-profits have been the drivers for creating this new green space, having maintained the parcel for many years until it was officially designated as a community space. The renovation and expansion of this parcel has created the beautiful new Hero Hope Garden which includes a community food forest with fruit trees, plants and raised bed gardens; a greenhouse for community and educational use; and community meeting and gathering space.

“This new community space on Geneva Avenue is a shared effort and would not have been possible without the support from the neighborhood and our partners,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am proud that through the DND Grassroots program and Community Preservation Act funding we were able to help add vibrancy and green space to this lot in Dorchester. Community gardening provides great physical activity, increases access to affordable healthy fresh produce, and brings the residents of our neighborhoods closer together.”

The community process for this effort began in 2019 and included a partnership between neighbors and the BFFC who have been active in both the redevelopment and management of the new park space. Working together, they created a plan complete with funding options and design for both active and passive spaces within the more than 3,000 square foot park. Design features include new fruit bushes and fruit trees, as well as a greenhouse and pathways that curve around the parcel with sitting spaces, shaded by new arbors.

“We could not have created this new garden without the support of the Mayor, many neighbors and community members, neighboring businesses, local tradespersons, teachers, students from neighboring schools, Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets, Jones Hill Neighborhood Association, Department of Neighborhood Development, Community Preservation Act, MassArt & Wyly Brown, YouthBuild, and UFI,” said Orion Kriegman Executive Director of the Boston Food Forest Coalition. “Farmers Collaborative has been a leading force on the establishment of this beautiful garden and gathering space. We are proud that our innovative design of this land will knit this community together.”

The redevelopment of this vacant land into green space is being funded in part by a $75,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to develop and renovate this land and pathways as well as create a new gathering area, and a $50,000 grant from the Grassroots Program at the Department of Neighborhood Development, which provides grant funds, City-owned land, and technical assistance to neighborhood groups and non-profits that want to organize, develop, own, manage, and maintain community gardens and open space in Boston’s neighborhoods. In return for this investment, the community will receive improvement and permanent preservation of a community open space along with all these new amenities

Located at 424-428A Geneva Avenue in Dorchester, the new community garden was conveyed to Boston Food Forest Coalition, Incorporated in January 2020. 

About the Department of Neighborhood Development

The Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) is responsible for housing homeless Bostonians, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing coronavirus response, the Office of Housing Stability is conducting tenant’s rights workshops to educate residents about the eviction moratorium and their rights. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division is working with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Click the link to learn more about Our Work at DND.

About the Community Preservation Act (CPA)

After Boston voters adopted the CPA in November 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and public recreation. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the Community Preservation Committee and appropriation by the City. For more information, please visit the Community Preservation webpage. 

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