The Union Park Neighborhood Association (UPNA) held a general meeting on April 28, where it discussed updates from the past year, the Tremont Redesign Project, and voted for its board of directors.
The group first heard from State Rep. Jon Santiago, who, if elected again this November, would now represent the UPNA area because of redistricting. Currently, the area’s rep. is Aaron Michlewitz.
Santiago said he lives on Claremont St., and has been on the legislature for two terms. He is now seeking a third, and told residents that he is also an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center.
He said his goal is to have a member of his staff at UPNA meetings if he himself cannot attend, and anyone with questions, comments, or concerns can reach out to Santiago at [email protected], or his office through Cory Azmon at cory.az[email protected] or Nick Bornstein at [email protected].
UPNA President Abigail Cohen talked about the Rodent Remediation Committee, which held a neighborhood walk-through with the city in March. Cohen reported that the committee is looking into a potential subsidization of trash bins for residents in the neighborhood to help with the rat problem, and she also spoke about the city’s new compost drop-off program, called Project Oscar. The South End Library is one of the drop-off locations for this program.
“The city asks for continued 311 reporting,” Cohen said, and though one does not yet exist, “the city is considering creation of a task force focused on rodent remediation.”
She said that Councilor Ed Flynn participated in the walk through, and other local representatives have been helpful in figuring out solutions to the problem.
A slide presented at the meeting reminded neighbors of some things they should be doing to help as well, such as stopping and reporting dumping in the neighborhood, making sure that dog waste is put into a trash receptacle, using sink disposals, personal compost bins, or city composting programs for food waste, and removing bird and other animal feeders from their property.
If possible, residents should also be using trash bins with fitting lids. Rodent sightings and dumping should be reported to 311, she said, and another meeting of the rodent remediation committee will be held in coming weeks.
UPNA member Jamie Fox said that he has still seen “overflowing” trash bins and “a lot of bags on the ground.” He recommended an industrial strength trash bin that would prevent the rats from having access to the trash.
Cohen said that the committee is looking into approval for reimbursement for these bins, as well as birth control for rodents as another potential solution.
Other updates included upcoming activities, such as a park event tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 21, and the Fete de la Musique on Saturday, June 25.
She also said that a group worked on graffiti removal in the neighborhood last year, and another round of cleanup will happen if necessary.
Cohen also talked about the Tremont St. redesign project, which is now underway. She said someone from the city’s transportation department was invited to the meeting, but no one could make it due to scheduling conflicts.
She clarified that there will be an ADA accessible raised crosswalk as well as bike lanes on Tremont St., with traffic going down to one lane in either direction.
“We at the end of Union Park have lost two parking spots,” Cohen said, because of new curb extensions for the raised crosswalk and “increased visibility.”
She said that any questions about the project should be directed to the Boston Transportation Department at [email protected], or 617-635-4680.
“This is in progress; they’re not going to change the design, but they can explain elements to you,” she said.
Finally, the board of directors was elected, which included current board members up for re-election: Lenny Alberts, Nancy Blaisdell, Michael Bojanowski, Abigail Cohen, Jamie Fox, Sue Ann Fox, Greg Herrema, Jay Leopold, Christine Parker, and Barry Rock. Three new members were also elected; Erin Azrack, Monika Wirtz, and Andrew Veneziano.
Patrick Dooling, Kristen Massimine, and Joseph Raccuglia are leaving the board this term, and UPNA thanked them for their “many years of support” in a recent email.
For more information about UPNA, its meetings, and its events, follow the organization on Instagram @friendsofunionpark, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/UPNABoston. The UPNA website is still under construction, but will be up and running sometime in the near future.