Two communities separated by a proposed highway nearly forty years ago may soon be brought closer together.
According to Urban Edge CEO Chrystal Kornegay, a highway that was to be built along Columbus Avenue has long demarcated the Roxbury and Jamaica Plain communities. A wave of grassroots protest stopped the seemingly inevitable I-95 project in the early 1970s, but the division has remained because businesses were scared off. A planned indoor recreational facility in Jackson Square could erase those boundaries.
“How do we reconnect these two communities?” said Kornegay. “We see the recreational facility as a big part of that.”
The facility, which would be built at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Ritchie Street, would be a seasonal ice skating rink and turf field. Kornegay noted that capital still needs to be found for the project before it would have to go through the requisite zoning and permit procedures.
“With all things, we are not at the place where it is a definite,” said Kornegay. “But we are definitely committed to building this facility. It is time for the facility.”
JP residents current option for ice skating is the outdoor located behind the . Designed as a temporary five-year rink, it has stood for more than a decade and can operate only three months out of the year, according to Mike Frank, a Friends of Kelly Rink member.
The Friends of Kelly Rink formed after the state allowed the original Kelly Rink to fall into disrepair during the 1980s before eventually tearing it down. The group was able to convince the Department of Conservation and Recreation to build the temporary rink, but is now fighting for the Jackson Square facility to give the Kelly Rink a permanent home.
Urban Edge will be hosting a at the Anna Mae Cole Community Center in Roxbury on Tuesday. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
A financial analysis of the proposed facility is attached to this story as a PDF.