GreenRoots Hosts Pop-up Park on the Chelsea Walk Bringing Smiles to the Community

By Giselle Barahona

GreenRoots, with a generous grant from the Chelsea Cultural Council, hosted a pop-up park in the Chelsea Walk for residents of Chelsea during peak lunch hours recently.

The organization set up a turf lawn, lawn chairs, jumbo games like checkers and Jenga, art supplies such as sidewalk chalk and paints, and even a cotton candy machine that attracted residents in the area to stop by and enjoy the day. Many families were drawn to the event. Kids enjoyed running around trying all the snacks and drinks and playing in the park with GreenRoots staff. Parents enjoyed spending time with their children, outside in the lovely weather, listening to music, eating snacks and learning about how they can become more involved in their community.

Various produce and plants were given away to folks from GreenRoots’ urban farm for families to grow and enjoy at home.

The Chelsea Walk, located on Broadway in Bellingham Square in the heart of Chelsea, links public parking behind businesses to the busy sidewalks and businesses of Broadway.

Previously considered a bleak and underutilized space, GreenRoots led a major transformation of the area with a grant from MassDevelopment that was matched by more than 270 individual donors. Now, the Walk features a beautiful, color and culturally representative mural painted by local muralist Silvia Lopez Chavez.

The mural, entitled “City of Dreams” reflects a diverse multi-cultural background Chelsea celebrating the city’s rich cultural and ethnic history.

The Chelsea Walk is now a beautiful public space where the community can gather to enjoy and celebrate the vibrancy of community.

In order to continue to ensure the newly revitalized space gets utilized and to bring the community together, GreenRoots organized a public event in the form of a pop-up park.

“The event was great! It acted as a community unifier,” said Avery Hammond, GreenRoots summer intern and one of the organizers for the event. “We had some 90 year old. We had some 5 year olds. We had people from every walk of life. People who were passing by could come and enjoy themselves… people saw it as a nice surprise for the community, and to do it in that way was really rewarding to see all the smiles on the kids’ faces.”

“There were a lot of families there! I thought was really sweet to see kids playing and interacting with their family members,” said Leilani Mroczkowski, GreenRoots Food Justice Organizer and Youth Coordinator. “We gave out lots of plants and we got to talk about the different things that are happening here at GreenRoots, like our kayaking events and our community farm days.”

GreenRoots is located at 227 Marginal St. in Chelsea, and has some great events planned for the community for the rest of the summer. GreenRoots will host free kayaking and canoeing events at the docks located at 201 Marginal St. on Thursdays, June 27, July 25, and Aug. 15 from 5-7:30 p.m. There will be food, drinks and music. So, bring your family and come down to spend some time enjoying the beautiful summer weather and the Chelsea Creek.

As part of their Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Program, GreenRoots will be hosting community farm work days where community members can farm and harvest produce on the Chelsea’s First Urban Farm. Stop by on Thursday, June 27 from 1-3 p.m. on Miller Street in Chelsea to learn more about food justice and the urban farm! Also, look out for more dates being added on GreenRoots’ Facebook page.

GreenRoots will be surprising the community with more pop-up parks throughout the summer in various locations highlighting the beauty of Chelsea and bringing the community together for a great time! Follow us on Facebook for more details.

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New Group Looks to Raise the Profile of Bicycling

With National Bicycle Month underway, a new group of cyclists and pedestrians in Chelsea are looking to create momentum and visibility on safety issues for those that aren’t using vehicles.

The Chelsea Bike and Pedestrian Committee has formed over the winter and got things rolling with their first community bike ride on May 8. Now, they said they would continue those rides every Weds. evening at 6 p.m.

Resident Asad Rahman, an avid cyclist who commutes to Boston daily from his Broadway home, has been involved in biking safety issues for a number of years and said he worked with City Planners to try to get more of a community built around bicycling and walking.

While he thought it might take some time, surprisingly the movement has grown quickly and they are already planning their first event and several events beyond that.

“More than ever, I think Chelsea is at a crossroads to put people and bicycles first instead of cars,” he said. “We’re a City with five or six street lights and several thousand people and cars go very, very fast. We hope we can shift the paradigm that people come first and cars come second…Right now we have a passionate group of people in Chelsea, and we’ll ride around town on May 8th for about a half-hour and then have a social time to continue building this community.”

With the help of the City and MassBike, the Committee is planning several events such as a Bike Repair workshops and a bike rodeo – this coming at future City events like Fiesta Verano and the Night Markets.

The group is on Facebook at BikeWalkChelsea, and anyone interested in joining them can show up at City Hall 6 p.m. on May 8.

The Vision for the Committee includes:

•To advance cycling and walking as leading modes of transportation in order to promote the health, wealth, and quality of life for Chelsea residents.

The Mission of the Committee is:

•To establish safe, interconnected, and enjoyable infrastructure in Chelsea for cycling and walking, through strategy with the Planning and Development department, resident education on practical use, and community engagement to build awareness and enthusiasm.

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New Group Looks to Raise the Profile of Bicycling, Pedestrian Issues

With National Bicycle Month underway, a new group of cyclists and pedestrians in Chelsea are looking to create momentum and visibility on safety issues for those that aren’t using vehicles.

The Chelsea Bike and Pedestrian Committee has formed over the winter and is looking to get things rolling with their first community bike ride on May 8 at 6 p.m.

Resident Asad Rahman, an avid cyclist who commutes to Boston daily from his Broadway home, has been involved in biking safety issues for a number of years and said he worked with City Planners to try to get more of a community built around bicycling and walking.

While he thought it might take some time, surprisingly the movement has grown quickly and they are already planning their first event and several events beyond that.

“More than ever, I think Chelsea is at a crossroads to put people and bicycles first instead of cars,” he said. “We’re a City with five or six street lights and several thousand people and cars go very, very fast. We hope we can shift the paradigm that people come first and cars come second…Right now we have a passionate group of people in Chelsea, and we’ll ride around town on May 8thfor about a half-hour and then have a social time to continue building this community.”

With the help of the City and MassBike, the Committee is planning several events such as a Bike Repair workshops and a bike rodeo – this coming at future City events like Fiesta Verano and the Night Markets.

The group is on Facebook at BikeWalkChelsea, and anyone interested in joining them can show up at City Hall 6 p.m. on May 8.

The Vision for the Committee includes:

•To advance cycling and walking as leading modes of transportation in order to promote the health, wealth, and quality of life for Chelsea residents.

The Mission of the Committee is:

•To establish safe, interconnected, and enjoyable infrastructure in Chelsea for cycling and walking, through strategy with the Planning and Development department, resident education on practical use, and community engagement to build awareness and enthusiasm.

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Boulder Rededication Ceremony

Boulder Rededication Ceremony

Vietnam veterans unveiling the boulder and a plaque during the Vietnam Veterans boulder rededication ceremony. The boulder has been moved from Malone Park to a new location between the Williams House and Vinnie’s Place due to construction on the campus. During the ceremony, Vietnam veteran Larry Clarke salutes as the names of those from Chelsea who died in Vietnam were read aloud.

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Appreciation – Remembering Trina Wilkerson

Appreciation –  Remembering Trina  Wilkerson

Hundreds of friends, family, former high school classmates, and co-workers paid their respects to Trina Louise Wilkerson during memorial observances at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Malden.

Trina passed away unexpectedly on March 6. She was 45 years old.

Reggie Wilkerson, her older brother and one of Chelsea High’s greatest quarterbacks, said he appreciated the many people who came out to pay tribute to his sister’s beautiful life.

Trina was a lifelong supporter of Reggie’s and the caretaker of the well-known Wilkerson family.

“Trina was a great little sister, the best,” said Reggie. “She was always there for me. She took care of our family, and that was so important. She took so much care of everybody in our family.”

Reggie and Trina participated in Chelsea Pop Warner together, he as a football player, she as a cheerleader.

Trina was an amazing party organizer and loved being around people. She uplifted others with her smile and kind words.

When Irena Wilkerson, Reggie and Trina’s beloved mother, passed away, Trina decided to organize a party to honor her and donate the proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Reggie helped out, to be sure, but Trina was the planner who took care of the details to insure the success of the event, making sure that everyone had a good time.

Reggie said he will carry on with the fifth annual fundraiser – in memory of Irena Wilkerson and Trina Wilkerson – and host the benefit this Saturday, March 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Merritt Club.

Paying their respects

One of the many friends who turned out for the tribute to Trina Wilkerson was Phunk Phenomenon Dance Studio owner Reia Briggs Connor.

“Reia was one of my sister’s best friends,” said Reggie. “Reia, my sister, and I used to take dance lessons together at Genevieve’s. I was a dancer, too. We used to wear our little costumes.”

City Councillors Leo Robinson and Calvin Brown joined other local dignitaries in paying their respects to Trina.

“Just a great young lady,” said Calvin Brown. “I’m so fortunate to having gotten to know Trina and her beautiful family. We have lost a great person, someone who loved Chelsea and gave back to her community.”

Also turning out for the memorial observances in Malden were Trina’s co-workers at Hyde Park Community Center.

“My sister was a youth counselor in Boston, so there were a lot of youths whom my sister mentored during their childhood – they spoke at the services,” said Reggie. “It was very touching to hear their stories and how much they loved my sister and what she did to help them succeed in their lives. I was like, ‘wow, for real?’

Reggie said during the observances a gentleman approached him and said, “Your sister (Trina) helped my daughter so much. She suffered from low self-esteem, her confidence level was low and she didn’t believe in her artwork. He said to me, ‘your sister mentored her and she raised her confidence level and she got my daughter to believe in her work.

“And Reggie, I want to tell you that because of Trina, my daughter was accepted to the school of her choice – and we owe this all to your sister.”

Heartwarming stories like that about Trina – a 2017 recipient of the CBC’s prestigious Chelsea Trailblazer Award – have helped Reggie and the family during this difficult time.

“Trina did so much for kids and the community in general,” said Reggie proudly. “I want to carry on her legacy of caring and kindness and her generosity of spirit.”

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Exhibit by Chelsea Hunger Network Features Work of Community Groups City-wide

Exhibit by Chelsea Hunger Network Features Work of Community Groups City-wide

An exhibit by the Chelsea Hunger Network is now installed at Gallery 456 and will remain until the day of its community fundraising event on April 18, the 8th Annual Chelsea Empty Bowls.

Since September of 2018, 19 groups have convened over 300 “community artists” in Chelsea to paint a variety of ceramic bowls and mugs. A selection of these colorful pieces of practical art, all fired in the kilns of Salem State’s Art + Design department, are now on display in the gallery. Next to the exhibit of the decorated ceramics, a collage depicts various artists showing off their work as well as groups and individuals at work. Many photographed are widely recognized community figures including Chelsea’s City Manager, Tom Ambrosino.

Another section of the gallery displays large color posters revealing the identity of the 19 participating groups and gives additional background on the Chelsea Hunger Network. An infographic outlines the contributing factors leading to an increase in food insecurity and hunger in our community.

The 8th Annual Chelsea Empty Bowls event will take place on April 18, from 5-7 p.m. at the Williams School at 180 Walnut St. Choose one of the hundreds of bowls and mugs and serve yourself from an all-you-can-eat menu of delicious clam chowder, chili, soups, and Toscanini’s ice cream. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) and can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com under “Chelsea Empty Bowls”. Children under 8 years old are free.

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Major Broadway Improvements Could Begin in 2022

Major Broadway Improvements Could Begin in 2022

A major $9.5 million improvement project for the one-mile stretch of Broadway from City Hall Avenue to the Revere line could get underway by the spring of 2022.

On Thursday, March 21, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation held a public hearing on the preliminary design plans for the roadway reconstruction. Although the state officials and engineers outnumbered the residents in attendance for the meeting, there was a good amount of information provided on the shape, scope, and timeline of the road reconstruction project.

“We are finishing the 25 percent design stage,” said Larry Cash, the MassDOT project manager. “After this hearing, we will be advancing to the final design stage.”

The purpose of the project is to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles along the Broadway corridor and intersecting streets in the city, according to Weston and Sampson engineer Larry Keegan. He said there will be new turn lanes, additional vehicle stacking room, and traffic signals at the project intersections allowing for the safer turning of vehicles and improved safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. The plans also include dedicated bicycle lanes through the one-mile stretch.

“There have been 97 collisions over a three-year period” along that portion of Broadway,” said Keegan. “That is above the state average.”

Keegan pointed to poor intersection layout, outdated traffic signals, and deficient pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit accommodations as being among the chief culprits for the high number of accidents. All of those issues will be addressed during the roadway reconstruction, he said.

In addition to the repaving of the road itself, a major component of the work includes new sidewalks and improved drainage.

Sidewalk improvements will mean the removal of some trees.

“The existing trees are old and unhealthy, lifting up the sidewalks themselves so that they are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant,” said Keegan.

Other areas that will get major upgrades are the MBTA bus stops along the route. Keegan noted that there is deterioration of pavement and pavement markings from years of use along the mile of Broadway, and that the deterioration is especially pronounced at the bus stops.

The proposed project will require permanent and temporary easements from adjacent property owners, but Cash said those easements are either temporary to allow for construction work along the road, or are for the installation or minor regrading of sidewalks.

As with any project that involves ripping up pavement and sidewalks to make way for improvements, there will be traffic and construction impacts once work gets underway.

But Keegan said the plan is to keep disruptions to a minimum and traffic flowing as easily as possible.

“No detours are anticipated at this time,” he said.

During the day, the plan is to have a single lane of traffic closed and have the traffic managed by police. At night, there will be two-way traffic, according to Keegan. Access to schools, businesses, and residences will be kept open as much as possible, he added.

Chelsea resident John Gunning asked if the bus stops would remain in the current locations and if there would be improvements to the bus shelters.

Keegan said engineers will be working with the MBTA during the next phase of design to address some of those issues.

“The T wants certain things and the city wants certain things (for the bus stops),” he said. “We are looking at different options at this point.”

Dunning said he would like to see fresh, new bus shelters and stops that will complement the surrounding area and completed improvements.

Cash said design, permitting, and right of way acquisition for the project will continue through 2019 and 2020 with construction anticipated to start in the spring of 2022.

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Night Shift to Add Coffee Roasting to Chelsea Headquarters

Night Shift to Add Coffee Roasting to Chelsea Headquarters

Luke Miller, Rose Woodard and Nicole Calderone at Night Shift’s new coffee bar at their brand new Lovejoy Wharf brewery and scratch kitchen in Boston. The popular beer brewer has expanded into the coffee business and will soon begin roasting their coffee beans in Chelsea.

Night Shift Brewery announced this week that it is venturing beyond beer and into the coffee market – and they plan to roast their coffee in Chelsea.

Co-Founder Michael Oxton said the company will have equipment installed at their Chelsea corporate headquarters to begin roasting coffee beans for the new operation.

The announcement came on the eve of the opening of Night Shift’s new Lovejoy Wharf location in Boston, which serves as the stepping off point for new venture into coffee and coffee roasting.

“We added coffee now and will be roasting our own beans very soon in Chelsea with our own roasting equipment,” he said. “We’re trying to get it up and running and we expect that very soon. Right now we are contract roasting it with a company in Rhode Island, but we’ll be doing it ourselves very soon.”

Like having a discriminating palate for beers, Oxton said he and his colleagues at Night Shift also have a taste for good coffee. They had always wanted to try making their own, and with the new venture, they thought now would be the time.

He said it’s something they will grow slowly, introducing it in Boston and seeing how the public perceives it.

However, the plans are to eventually introduce it at the original Everett taproom as well.

“We’ll be starting it off at Lovejoy, but we’ll be looking to add a coffee bar in Everett too,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

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