This past weekend, Mayor Menino waxed enthusiastic about all the amazing things happening in Dudley Square: a new police station and and an historic fire station renovation. Woo. Hoo. The current police station makes prisoner quarters in Guantanamo look like the Chateau les Crayeres. And that cute little historic fire station next to one of the oldest European burial grounds in the country was just begging for rehab. But as hizzoner ran down the list of amazing things happening in Dudley, two simple words erupted repeatedly in a whisper from my lips into the ear of my companion:
This is not a view from somewhere in Detroit (sorry, Detroit, I know things are tough). This is the view from Washington Street of the enormous gravel pit which begs to be turned into, not just the long ago promised municipal offices, but a central location for City Hall. That's right, Mayor. Never mind the corner office on the beach. All roads lead to Roxbury. Dudley’s rich in history and culture and is the geographic center of the city. It's a veritable transportation hub. And it needs not just your rhetoric but a real, viable, sustainable plan for regeneration as the vibrant, bustling urban center it once was and could easily again become. The best way to do that is with a little of your TLC and a lot of your attention. So take some of those big corporate tax credits away from the undeserving monoliths, toss them together with a desire to leave a meaningful, encomium-worthy legacy and sprinkle in a hefty dose of visionary thinking – (use someone else’s if you can’t muster up your own).
Develop the lot already.
And in the meantime, I’m working on a DIY project in my backyard. Could I have some of that gravel?