Revitalizing Cleary and Logan Squares: A Report to Historic Boston, Inc. *
Historic Boston, Inc. (HBI) is a non-profit that serves as the developer of last resort for endangered Boston historic properties. Cleary and Logan Squares in Hyde Park are part of the organization’s “Historic Neighborhood Centers” programs. HBI partnered with the Hyde Park Main Streets organization to facilitate the creation of a neighborhood preservation and revitalization strategy. HBI and Hyde Park Main Streets sought help in directing resources and efforts in the district.
- What buildings and sites of investment will best act as catalysts for future growth and vitality?
- How can the rehabilitation of historic resources be more than an end in itself to act as a tool through which valuable and desired services and goods be made available to the existing neighborhood population?
- What is the best district-wide strategy for improving the internal and external image of Hyde Park?
- How can investment decisions be aimed at celebrating and reestablishing important themes and narratives that appear throughout the district’s history?
Challenges were met by conducting an extensive outreach process in the community to understand the hidden resources and changing needs of Hyde Park residents and merchants. Once an independent town boasting significant civic involvement and resources, Hyde Park is experiencing of wave of change brought about by new immigrant residents and repurposed historic buildings. The planning team brought new insights into the changing goals and needs of the community and proposed key redevelopment projects meant to leverage Historic Boston, Inc. resources and development know-how for greater impact in the commercial district and throughout the community (http://www.historicboston.org/info/centers/clearylogan/index.html).
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- Prioritized development projects based on four criteria: historic value, catalyst potential, feasibility, meets community needs
- Focused HBI investment in three locations: Everett Theater, The Tuxedo Building, The Lamp Building
- Capitalized on development “ripple effect” to positively impact surrounding buildings and public spaces
- Reprogrammed and redesigned the centrally located municipal parking to create a new civic square. Transformed the parking lot into a multi-use space functioning as parking, open space and recreation space without losing significant numbers of parking spaces
- Implemented traffic calming measures throughout the district to create pedestrian and family-friendly streets and sidewalks
- Created a “space-based” civic coalition to implement the vision
* MIT “Historic Preservation, Design, and Development” Practicum, Susan Silberberg and Karl Seidman, Lecturers