While there was no traditional National Night Out (NNO) celebration for D-4 at the familiar Castle Square location, Acting Mayor Kim Janey and the Boston Police Department held a luncheon and awards ceremony in the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library last week – naming the Blackstone/Franklin Squares Neighborhood Association (BFSNA) the Community Service partner of the year.
Jonathan Alves, the vice president of BFSNA, and President David Stone were at the ceremony, and Alves said a great deal of the award goes to the Association’s partnership with Capt. Steve Sweeney and his officers at D-4 to transform Franklin Square.
“I think it’s been a combination of activities, but definitely our partnership with D4 and Capt. Sweeney was a primary factor,” said Alves, who is the Association’s liaison to the Police Station. “We’ve really focused over the last three or four years on cultivating a strong relationship with D-4 to work in different ways to maintain a constant presence in the neighborhood and do outreach to people in the Squares that need assistance.
“I’ve lived in Franklin Square for the last eight years and it’s a complete 180 from a couple of years ago,” he continued. “We were picking up at one point 20 to 30 needles a week during our cleanup and now it’s less than one or two a week.”
The Association has also been a partner during its meetings in welcoming Capt. Sweeney and the Community Service Officers to give reports, and share information about activities going on. BFSNA has also been known to spring for dinner for the officers in the Police Station, and also advocating for equipment they need to better patrol the neighborhood.
All of that, Alves said, has led to a solid partnership now that has improved quality of life in a way built on community work and Police collaboration.
“We’ve built a really strong relationship in the last couple of years and even a friendship,” he said. “It’s nice to be recognized citywide for that effort.”