The ground floor aka 10 toes down

This is where I got on. 1991, 15 years old, a community organizer, going to meetings to hear and share how to create, plan for and control my community into a vibrant, diverse, high quality neighborhood.

Boston is a city of neighborhoods. 18. No time to name them all. You know where you live. In each of these 18 neighborhoods, there are several civic/street associations. Some are run by local non profit organizations. Some are led by residents of the community. They are all unique in style and design, function and effectiveness. The point of them however is to share information with residents and exert control over some of the activities in the neighborhood. I encourage you to join one or create one. If you’d like, I can help you with either.

Some of these activities are “zoning/building development”. Which is who builds/operates what, where, how tall and open during what hours..? Another is public safety and public services. Police districts send a liaison officer to update you on crime and prevention and give you a chance to do the same. Elected officials or their staff also attend these meetings, or at least should to keep in contact with residents they represent.

Sometimes these street associations will band together with others to strengthen their numbers to address common issues that affect the community. For example a large development that no one wants. A problem property address where crime and disturbances often occur. These are the people on the ground floor, the soldiers, they make it happen. They get the pothole and street light fixed, They get the police presence increased. They get the park resurfaced. They also put in the phone calls, emails to city councilors and mayors office to create the consistent pressure to make sure these things happen.

Think of this as your squad. 10-20 neighbors you can roll with. A working committee, knights of the round table. Each squad has a boss aka a board chair aka a block captain or lead organizer. Don’t get caught up in the name though. Get caught up in the work. Either lead or follow a good leader, after all the crew represents you !


above photo  July 2007- serving as DSNI board member with the late, great Julio Henriquez also a board member.


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