But only if residents turn out to help paint the newfound oasis in the middle of the Broadway business district.
GreenRoots and Chelsea artists Sylvia Lopez Chavez will host two Paint Days of the Walk on Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We hope everyone will join GreenRoots and artist Silvia Lopez Chavez to transform the Chelsea Walk into an area we will all be proud of,” said GreenRoots Director Roseann Bongiovanni.
Phase II of the Walk transformation will begin later this summer with furniture and lighting installations, to be followed by Phase III consisting of art installations on the ceiling of the Chelsea Walk.
Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL), a highly respected leader in senior living with campuses in Chelsea and Peabody, and JGS Lifecare (JGS) a leading health care system serving seniors and their families in western Massachusetts,
(L-R) Susan Goldsmith, chair of the board JGS Lifecare, Adam Berman, president CJL, and Barry Berman, CEO of CJL.
announced their intention to affiliate.
“Affiliating our two organizations makes a great deal of sense at this time,” said Adam Berman, president of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “CJL and JGS share the same mission, philosophy, values and goals. We both strive to provide the highest possible quality of care. For us, this common synergy is the key to a long and successful relationship.”
“Our organizations are similar and like-minded in many regards,” said Susan Goldsmith, chair of the board for JGS Lifecare. “Both are centenarian organizations that have been serving seniors for over 100 years. We are both non-profit, faith-based and founded on Jewish principles while serving people of all faiths. We offer the same spectrum of services, including skilled nursing, long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, home health and hospice, assisted living, independent living, and adult day health care. Above all, our commitment to providing the best possible care for our elderly community is the driving force behind both institutions and all we do.”
The relationship between CJL and JGS has developed over recent years. After Chelsea Jewish opened the award-winning Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2010, the country’s first urban model Green House skilled nursing facility, JGS consulted with CJL in preparation for the construction of its own Green House model. The highly acclaimed Sosin Center for Rehabilitation opened in 2016 on the Longmeadow campus. This affiliation is therefore a natural progression of the developing relationship between the two organizations. Once consummated, CJL will manage the daily affairs of JGS in accordance with the direction set by the JGS Board of Directors.
“This affiliation is beneficial to both institutions and will ensure our stability and future growth for generations to come,” continued Goldsmith. “It’s no secret that across the health care continuum, it’s become increasingly important for organizations to come together for long-term viability, to learn best practices from each other and to better serve the greater good.”
“We believe this is a terrific opportunity for us to combine our expertise to better serve the growing senior population across the state of Massachusetts,” said Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “Our combined resources and economies of scale will ensure the future growth and enhancement of all of our services.”
Sen. Sal DiDomenico recently joined with Reps. Daniel Ryan and RoseLee Vincent to congratulate Roseann Bongiovanni on being recognized as an Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW).
Each year the MCSW recognizes women across the Commonwealth who make outstanding, yet perhaps unnoted, contributions to their communities.
Sen. DiDomenico and Representative Ryan nominated Bongiovanni, the executive director of the Chelsea-based environmental justice organization GreenRoots, for her efforts over the past 21 years to improve environmental conditions and quality of life in Chelsea.
On June 20 Bongiovanni was honored at the MCSW’s Unsung Heroines Celebration at the State House.
“I was happy to join Rep. Ryan and present Roseann with our citations.” said Senator DiDomenico. “This is a well-deserved honor for Roseann, who has made it her life’s work to assist individuals and families that need our help the most, and for her tireless efforts on environmental justice issues in our community.”
The Board, staff and members of GreenRoots were happy to hear the leader of their organization was getting credit for her years of work.
“On behalf of the Board, staff and members of GreenRoots, we would like to recognize Rosie for being recognized by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as an Unsung Heroine of 2018,” read a statement from the organization. “Rosie was chosen as the Unsung Heroine for our District. We are lucky to have her as a model of leadership and unwavering commitment to our community.”
Chelsea residents Michael Albano and Eden Edwards have been supporting the Apollinaire Theatre for seven years by throwing a dinner party in their beautiful eclectic home to raise money to support the theatre’s free, outdoor, summer Apollinaire in the Park productions. “Of all the things Apollinaire does, it’s their best service to the community,” says Michael.
Michael, a Somerville native, first moved to Chelsea in 1995 and soon began looking for ways to get involved in the city. “My father was always a community activist,” says Michael. “It was just what you did in my family.” He was a part of the Chelsea Collaborative and Green Space (now GreenRoots), and was the chairman of the Chelsea Planning Board for four years. After the downturn in the economy, Michael turned his focus to his business. When he was ready to serve the community again, he found Apollinaire Theatre Company.
Michael joined the Apollinaire in the Park committee, after a decline in funding forced the cancellation on the 2011 show. He and Eden’s generous support of the theatre has grown into an exceptionally fun and memorable annual dinner in their home featuring Michael’s cooking, and performances from the Apollinaire in the Park cast. This summer Apollinaire is producing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Cast members will be performing “Pyramus and Thisbe,” Midsummer’s play within a play, at the party.
On making Chelsea their home, Michael says, “Chelsea found me.” Eden, a Nebraska native who moved to Chelsea in 2001 adds that she feels “lucky to have found Chelsea.” The couple describes their home as a “Victorian beach house.” The Victorian details have a nautical flair, such as the banisters with waves carved into them. It was built in 1895 by a shipping captain from Beacon Hill as his second home and was the first home built in its Chelsea neighborhood. At the time it was constructed, the captain would have had an unobstructed view of the beach he could walk to.
-Michael’s journey as a cook began when he was just eight and made his first pizza. His father, who dabbled in the restaurant business, was the cook in the home. Michael’s culinary style is influenced French, American, and of course Italian cuisine (he lived in Italy for a number of years). He worked in the famed Ciro’s restaurant in Boston and enthusiastically describes himself as a food-lover.
Michael will be serving up a variety of hors d’oeuvres, vegetables, ravioli, New York strip steak, and his popular roasted Tuscan chicken and au gratin potatoes with wine, beer, and soft drinks. (Eden looks out for the vegetarians!) Apollinaire actor Ann Carpenter is known for contributing her famous vegetarian lasagna. There will also be desserts from Pan y Café. For wine enthusiasts, there will be a mini wine tasting/pairing offered from Eden and Michael’s reserve as an add-on for partygoers.
While hosting the dinner is big undertaking—Eden’s sister, agents from Michael’s real estate office, and friends often help them prepare—Michael and Eden are very happy that it has become a tradition in the community as well as in their home. “When people involved with the Chelsea community are in my house, it’s the most fun nights here apart from having family,” says Eden. The party always happens in June, not just to poise it to best serve fund-raising efforts for the theatre’s July performances, but also because Michael’s birthday is in June. The party doubles as a celebration for him where he can get friends who are not from Chelsea involved in supporting Apollinaire.
This year’s party is on June 15th at 7:00pm at the couple’s home: 32 Crest Ave., Chelsea. Tickets can be purchased through the theatre’s website: www.apollinairetheatre.com, at the door, or by calling 617-887-2336.
Apollinaire’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs July 11 – 29 at 7:30pm in Chelsea’s waterfront PORT Park, 99 Marginal Street. ALL performances are FREE. Contact the theatre to learn about opportunities to get involved with the show!
Apollinaire in the Park is a program of Apollinaire Theatre Company (ATC), Chelsea’s award-winning professional theatre. ATC produces adventurous contemporary theatre, and free outdoor summer shows. The ATC’s home is the Chelsea Theatre Works in Chelsea Square, which houses their three theatres: the Apollinaire Theatre; the Riseman Family Theatre, home of their youth program, the Apollinaire Play Lab; and the Black Box—a co-working rental theatre for Boston Area performing artists. Visit them on the web at www.apollinairetheatre.com.
The Chelsea Walk has, for years, been an uninviting walkway between Broadway and the seedier part of the alleyways behind the business district.
This photo is an example sent out by GreenRoots of some things that could be done to the Chelsea Walk to enliven and brighten it up. GreenRoots and the City are embarking on a campaign to match a state grant for funding to spruce up the Walk.
But as Broadway gets more attention, the City and GreenRoots are looking to make the Chelsea Walk a comfortable centerpiece, rather than a forgotten stretch.
GreenRoots, together with City Manager Tom Ambrosino, announced Friday night that it had received a grant from MassDevelopment to transform the dark and dingy Chelsea Walk into a safe and welcoming destination attraction featuring art, color and lighting.
The grant, however, has a twist.
In order to get the funding, it needs to be matched dollar for dollar through Crowdfunding by June 8. Crowdfunding is when many people contribute towards a project’s success. At present time, fundraising has exceeded $3,000, so GreenRoots has less than 40 days to raise the remaining $17,000.
Chelsea Chamber of Commerce President Sergio Jaramillo said the project is an effort to “ make the area a place where people feel safe.”
He added, “It is all about making our community better.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino encouraged everyone to contribute where they can.
“To the extent you can donate something, it will really benefit the city,” he said.
The effort follows two fun summer events where GreenRoots and the City developed “park-lets” on Broadway for a day – something that was extremely popular with residents, business owners and the public. The Chelsea Walk effort is another arm of that effort.
GreenRoots is accepting donations towards this project at www.patronicity.com/chelseawalk.
Chelsea GreenRoots is leading the way in jump-starting a renewal of Chelsea-Eastie activism on the Chelsea Creek – sending out teams to help build up momentum on the Eastie side for Creek activism.
GreenRoots Director Roseann Bongiovanni said the organization began trying to revitalize the interest in Eastie back in August after getting a grant to do some organizing.
“We can only be more powerful with one voice like we were in the past,” she said. “Overall, since we started, folks have been receptive because they know this is for East Boston residents and will be led by East Boston residents. It goes back to the holistic look at the Chelsea Creek on the East Boston and Chelsea side.”
For many years, the former Chelsea GreenSpace and the Eastie Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) combined efforts to form the Chelsea Creek Action Group – or CCAG. Together, that group fought of what they believed to be environmental threats to the Creek, including a power plant, CAD cells buried in the riverbed, and the Hess tank removal. They also advocated successfully for the Urban Wild location on the Eastie side, and held social events like the River Revel.
However, about two years ago, a lot of the leadership in Eastie shifted to other matters and concerns in the neighborhood, leaving Chelsea holding up one side of the Creek.
Recently, though, Eastie’s Magdalena Ayed spun off environmental work in her organization HarborKeepers.
That began to develop some interest again in the Creek activism in Eastie.
This year, GreenRoots got a grant to do work to re-activate the grass roots base in East Boston and to institute Eastie leaders to begin leading the revived organization.
“That was very important that this was for East Boston and we were just helping to get it started for them,” said Bongiovanni. “We didn’t want it to seem like Chelsea was coming over and telling East Boston what to do.”
First, they visited 12 groups, including the many neighborhood organizations in Eastie, and spread the word about trying to revive interest in Creek activism.
Right now, John Walkey of Eastie and Indira Alfaro of GreenRoots are canvassing Eastie to get more people involved.
Bongiovanni said getting both sides organized again is very important to the health of the Creek.
She said there is also a great opportunity to learn from one another.
“You see gentrification along the Creek a lot more in East Boston and we are hoping to learn from what they have gone through,” she said.
Bongiovanni said the missing link on the Creek still is Revere, but she has hopes that some organizing can be done there as well.
Since I announced my candidacy for District 5 City Councillor, I have had the opportunity to speak and meet with many of you about your vision for the district. Each conversation has reminded me once again that our city’s greatest asset is our people.
Whether you live on Beacon, Ash, Cottage, Chester Avenue, or Lynn Streets, we all share a common commitment to doing everything we can to make our community and district stronger.
For over 20 years, I have lived here in our great city and district as a homeowner, and as a community activist, one that cares deeply in the direction that our city is heading.
As an activist along with other concerned residents, we were able to lower the speed limit in our city to 25 miles per hour. Also we were able to make our streets safer by working with City Hall and others to raise the streets to their highest levels to help combat the safety concerns of our residents. In addition I have been a strong advocate of a healthier and cleaner Chelsea. Having been a member of the Chelsea Enhancement Team, Chelsea Shines, and the Beautification Committee, and a supporter Green Roots, the city is looking much better. The air quality is getting better, and both the homeowners and business owners are maintaining their properties better, all because of the commitment and hard work of concerned residents and myself.
Yes, there is still much more work to be done in our district. Being a current member for eight years on Planning Board, one of several of my concerns is to make sure that our residents are being forced out of their city that they have called home for many years. I also want to make sure that all new developments have fair and adequate affordable housing both at rental price and percentage of housing units.
With the recent Inclusionary Zoning Ordiance of 30, 50, 80, this will will help to insure housing for our residents. Being involved with the Re-Imaging process of the Downtown Business District, we are in desperate need of housing in this area. I will work hard to make sure that our city does not become an unaffordable city for those who choose to live here.
I will continue to make sure that City Hall and all departments are fiscally sound. I am committed to working with all departments, item by item, prior to and during the budget hearings. I will look to see where we able to save our residents money.
I am running because I want to be your voice at City Hall. As a district, we deserve a leader that is ready to work on Day 1. I am a person that is committed to the district and willing and able to vote with the residents that you are to serve.
District 5 deserves a councillor that wants to help lead our city and district. I believe that our city is on the verge of receiving amazing and wonderful opportunities. We as residents have an opportunity to grab this moment and move forward stronger together. This is why as District 5 city councillor, I will be committed to helping to continue rebuilding our city, preparing and giving our youngest residents the tools they need to succeed in their future goals. I will never stop working for you as a resident and as your city councillor.
If you believe in this vision for our city’s future – one of working together, growth, affordable housing, cleaner and safer neighborhoods, and preparing our future leaders – then I hope you will consider becoming part of our campaign.
Please vote for Henry David Wilson on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The City and several community partners are working with Councillor Roy Avellaneda and the bike sharing company oFo to possibly launch the service to Chelsea residents in the coming months – if all goes well.
Bike sharing services have become increasingly popular, and in the Boston area the market is dominated by HubWay. However, the company requires extensive funding from municipalities to build out stations – stations that take up valuable parking spaces in key downtown areas.
Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he has realized that bicycle ridership in Chelsea has really begun to boom. So, promoting it has become one of his platforms on the Council. For some time, he said he and City Manager Tom Ambrosino tried to get HubWay into Chelsea, but that kind of fell apart recently – and might not have been the best fit for Chelsea anyhow.
Then, out of the blue, a former co-worker introduced him to the bike sharing company oFo – which is launching its service in Revere next week and already operates in Worcester – along with 16 other countries in the world.
The oFo system seemed to be the perfect fit, he said.
“While there has been an attempt to bring HubWay to Chelsea, they haven’t been overly excited to come,” he said. “This just made perfect sense. To find an alternative to HubWay was very appealing.”
oFo – which is not so much a name as a picture (the name is to resemble a picture of someone riding a bike – has been in and around Chelsea for the last few weeks now.
At the annual Ride for REACH, they provided several signature yellow bikes for participants to ride. They have been doing other promotions as well.
The service is unique because it doesn’t require any stations. Bikes are simply locked up to racks or other legal spots and left when a user is done. Using a phone app, those signed up for oFo can locate a bike via a GPS map. Once they locate a nearby bike, they can scan the QR code on the bike with a cell phone, and then go on their way. Every bike is GPS monitored by the company, and the rates are far better than HubWay.
A typical HubWay is $5 per hour, while an oFo rental is $1 per hour.
“The biggest plus for me is we can get this off the ground fast,” said Avellaneda. “We have high ridership of bikes now and we can offer a product like this to the residents that is easy and very affordable. It looks like a no-brainer.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they are meeting with the company today, and he said it does seem interesting on its face.
GreenRoots has also had meetings with them, and Director Roseann Bongiovanni said it’s an intriguing idea.
“oFo came to meet with GreenRoots a few weeks back,” she said. “The members were all impressed and pleased with the company. Generally we’re supportive of a greater bicycle presence in the community, but what made this program more attractive was the affordable pricing and the lack of a docking station which could impacting parking in a city that struggles with that challenge.”
She said they do see some holes in the program, but things GreenRoots thinks can be overcome.
“We’d like to work with the City and oFo to overcome two obstacles: bike access for youth and those who don’t have credit cards,” she said, noting that payment is through an app connected to a credit card.
The program is made that much more attractive due to Revere launching the program next week. With that neighboring City on board, it would allow Chelsea riders an even greater network of bicycles to find and use.
The company does provide a physical presence in the area, and said they quickly respond to any issues such as broken bikes or improperly stored bikes.
“People don’t realize how many people are now riding bikes in Chelsea,” said Avellaneda. “If you get up at 5 a.m. in the morning, you will see so many people riding bikes to Market Basket or the Produce Center.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino with Roseann Bongiovanni, executive director of GreenRoots, and Leslie Aldrich, associate director of MGH Center for Community Health Improvement, at the Chamber of Commerce Government Breakfast, where he announced that Chelsea was a recipient of the RWJF Culture of Health Prize.
Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino chose the Chamber Government Breakfast Wednesday to make a special announcement that the city has been awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize.
The Prize honors communities for their unwavering efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live healthier lives. Chelsea will receive a $25,000 cash prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and have their inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation.
Ambrosino called to the podium GreenRoots Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni and MGH Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) Associate Director Leslie Aldrich for the ceremonial acceptance of the prestigious award. Both women were instrumental in compiling Chelsea’s application to the RWJF.
“I have exciting news to tell you – something very special,” said Ambrosino. “Chelsea, Massachusetts is a winner of the Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Prize for 2017. And that’s worthy of applause.”
Even before Ambrosino completed his declaration, the crowd had responded with hearty applause.
Ambrosino said Chelsea is one of only eight communities nationwide to receive “this prestigious award.”
He called the application process “arduous” and added that it took months and months of work.
“And it couldn’t have been done without the two people here – Roseann Bongionvanni from GreenRoots and Leslie Aldrich from MGH (who oversees the Healthy Chelsea Coalition) They were the co-applicants to the RWJF on behalf of the city of Chelsea. And they worked extremely hard to get this application done. I’m very grateful and I want to thank them.”
Ambrosino said following the submission of the application, the city had to convince the visiting RWJF committee that it was deserving of the national award.
“It was the community that convinced the visiting committee that Chelsea was deserving. It was the incredible collaboration of our non-profits and community-based organization. It was the engagement of our business community led by our Chamber of Commerce and the powerful and emotional stories about what Chelsea meant to our residents.”
Bongiovanni thanked the Foundation for recognizing Chelsea’s efforts to become a healthier community.
“So many residents, city leaders, businesses and community partners have come together to make Chelsea a healthier community in which to live,” said Bongiovanni. “I am so grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for recognizing those efforts with the prestigious Culture of Health Award. It exemplifies a whole community coming together for the betterment of our people, our environment, our future.”
Aldrich praised Chelsea residents for their unity and the city for its strong commitment to being a healthy community.
“Being nationally recognized for this work, despite the many challenges this community has faced and that still exist, is a reflection of the community’s resilience and commitment to one another,” said Aldrich. “The friendships and partnerships that have been forged in the effort to make Chelsea a healthier place to live are true and lasting and what makes Chelsea such a unique community.”
Dan Cortez, community engagement specialist for the Chelsea Police Department, Sylvia Ramirez of the Chelsea Collaborative, and Jose Iraheta Zaldana of Neighborhood Developers and Chelsea Thrives, also had key roles in Chelsea’s success and will join the local delegation at the RWJF awards ceremony.
“I think in the past Chelsea has always had issues and challenges and maybe wasn’t coordinated enough to meet those challenges,” said Cortez. “But I think Chelsea in the past four or five years under the previous leadership of Jay Ash and now Tom Ambrosino and Chief Brian Kyes and other people like Capt. Dave Batchelor – we coordinate our efforts, we have a hub mindset where we can collectively approach these challenging issues and report on them – that provides the accountability that has been missing in the past.”
Ambrosino said the city will hold a community gathering to celebrate the award.
Xavier and Angel Mojica enjoyed their time paddling on the Chelsea Creek on Tuesday, Aug. 8, during an event sponsored by GreenRoots to make a statement about recreational boating on the Creek. Both GreenRoots and City officials see the pier on Marginal Street as a key site to getting people more access to the Creek.
When Sandra Perdomo’s little daughter saw the kayaks floating off the new pier on Marginal Street last Tuesday, Aug. 8, her eyes lit up as big as silver dollars.
She had never been on a kayak, and certainly had never really been anywhere near the Chelsea Creek for recreational events. But at the first-ever GreenRoots Paddle on the Creek event, there was plenty of room for everyone to grab a paddle and boat across the Creek to Eastie or just kick around the pier with a paddle.
“After she went out, my daughter said, ‘Oh mommy, can we do this again and again?’” said Perdomo. “One time wasn’t enough. She wanted to do this every day. For her, it was the first time in a kayak…This was a great opportunity for the community to be able to use the water for fun. For me, I felt it was the best community event in all of Chelsea because we had a good time with family and friends. It’s a fun activity outside and everyone enjoyed themselves.”
The event featured activities and the Chelsea Police Copsicle Truck up on the expansive concrete pier – which is basically brand new and very much underutilized.
Down in the water by the docks, kayaks were lined up and people were excited to get out on the water.
Looking down from the dock, GreenRoots Director Roseann Bongiovanni yelled, “We’re kayaking on the Chelsea Creek. Can you believe it?”
But many like Bongiovanni and other City leaders hope that it becomes much more common.
“We’ve had canoeing and kayaking on the Creek before, but it was with the River Revel, which we had with East Boston,” said Bongiovanni. “We’ve never done it on the Chelsea side on the Chelsea Creek. We wanted to give the community and the kids the opportunity to use their waterway. We’ve been putting a lot of attention on that pier area and we have a vision that one day that could become a park. There’s much more to come on that site. It’s a very key site…Getting out there kayaking and canoeing felt very powerful to people. This was something people said you couldn’t do. We did it.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the long-term goal is to have residents using the Creek for recreation despite the limits of it being a commercial and industrial waterway.
Both Ambrosino and Bongiovanni believe it can be a shared space for both commerce and leisure.
“One of our long-term goals here is to try to provide more access to the Creek,” he said. “I hope some day to have a park in that area where things like that can happen. The PORT Park is great but we’re trying to do something more. If we can use the pier there to do something, it would be great. Everything now is privately owned, but that may not always be the case in the future.”
Many of the youth at the event had never been on the Creek, and even more had never been in a kayak. It’s something that many have struggled with for years in Chelsea, whereas many young people live only a stone’s throw from the waterfront, but don’t even know the waterfront exists.
Long time resident Lisa Santagate said the waterfront had been blocked off to residents for more than a generation. She couldn’t recall ever being able to really access the Creek in her lifetime.
“This is not a one off thing,” said Bongiovanni. “It can be difficult to have recreational boating on the Chelsea Creek, but we’re going to have try as much as we can to get people on the Creek regularly so it becomes something that’s normal. We see that (pier) as a key property that can change the Chelsea Creek in a dynamic way.”