When Jose Barriga was working as a translator at an area hospital, he routinely saw a cycle of poor health from his Latino patients that seemed to be caused by the food they ate.
Jose Barriga (center) discusses the Malanga with Bessie Pacheco and Alicia Castillo on Monday during the Cocinas Saludables Seminar program in Chelsea this March. Participants in the two-week class meet at the Chelsea Collaborative and travel to Stop & Compare Supermarket in Bellingham Square to discuss healthier alternatives in cooking traditional Latino dishes. The class continues on April 1 where participants will cook a traditional meal using the new techniques and ingredients.
Many of them new to the country, or having
come as adults, food and cooking and daily life was far different than in their
native countries. Yet many still cooked and ate in the same ways that they did
when they lived at home.
Doctors suggesting that patients give up their traditional food was a non-starter, even if they agreed to it at the hospital.
Above, Grisalda Valesquez examines a package of garlic. Below, Leslie Garcia examining Goya brown rice with Grisalda Valesquez.
At the same time, Barriga saw that something did need to change, but maybe not altogether.
That’s what bore the idea of the Cocinas
Saludables program in Chelsea, which is in its second year and is a partnership
with the Cambridge Food Lab, Chelsea Collaborative, and Healthy Chelsea.
“What I realized when I was interpreting is
there is a big problem in communication between health care providers and the
Latino community,” he said. “A doctor will say you need to change how you eat,
usually suggesting to cook brown rice or eat other foods. They have the best
interests, but the language is not effective. I was seeing a cycle. I saw
mothers with diabetes bringing children who were overweight. The issues they
were having in large part was due to the foods they were eating or their
cooking techniques. This is a huge, huge problem from a public health
perspective in the Latino community.”
What Barriga and the other partners are
trying to do is create the best of both worlds.
They’re looking to have their arroz con
habichuelas, and eat them too.
Anais Caraballo of the Collaborative said
they are excited to host the class for a second year, and said she sees a great
value in educating people on how to cook traditional foods in a more healthy
“I think it’s very important coming from a
Puerto Rican background,” she said. “It’s a great program to have the community
become more aware of healthier ways to eat and cook, but at the same time still
be able to enjoy cultural foods that are an ingrained part of their lives.”
On Monday, Barriga and a class of 10 people
met in the Collaborative to talk about foods and cooking and how people thought
about food. That was followed up with a trip to Stop & Compare – a loyal
partner to the program. There, those in the class walked through the aisles
with Barriga to look at ingredients in their traditional foods.
Armed with materials from their class, and
the advice of Barriga, they looked at the ingredients they usually buy, and
considered alternatives that were healthier. In that sense, they didn’t have to
give up the foods that meant so much to them, and they could also ensure they
were eating healthy.
Barriga said he customizes the class
according to the culture. If there are a lot of Caribbean cultures in the class
– such as Puerto Ricans – he will discuss different ways of cooking aside from
frying – as well as using healthier oils when cooking the food.
“When it comes to the Caribbean community,
it’s talking about fried foods, which is a constant in the Caribbean diet,” he
said. “My proposal isn’t to be 100 percent healthy options. If you come and say
you have to change everything you eat, people won’t do it. I give them a couple
of changes that will help their overall health in the long run. I try to be
realistic. For the Caribbean cultures, I tell them to avoid fried foods
sometimes, and try to sauté a little more so they use less oil.”
Another issue is that many people who have
just come from outside the United States arrive and find food cheaper and more
accessible. For example, a family in El Salvador may only have had meat one
time a week. However, in the U.S. they find they can have it seven days a week,
and they do that.
“If you grow up poor and food was a problem,
then you come to the U.S. and food is plentiful,” he said.
That is also true when it comes to activity.
Many people had a similar diet in their home
countries, but they often had to walk or bicycle many miles each day just to do
simple tasks. That active lifestyle and different climate helped to regulate
Once here in Chelsea, they find themselves
far less active and in a climate that is inhospitable to them six months of the
“I call that the food-culture clash,” he
said. “They have no cars in many Latin American countries. They walk or they
bike. People come here and they get overweight because it’s very comfortable.
They drive and there is a lack of physical activity, which is a major symptom
of being overweight.”
Next Monday, students in the Cocinas class
will gather the remainder of their ingredients and cook up traditional foods
with a healthy twist.
A retail marijuana shop on Webster Avenue
near the Home Depot is one step closer to opening in Chelsea.
Tuesday night, the Planning Board approved a
site plan for a 10,000 square foot retail marijuana facility at 121 Webster
Ave. by The Western Front, LLC.
The pot shop still needs additional
approvals from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as well as the local
Zoning and Licensing Boards before it can officially open its doors. But local
officials have praised the plans for the facility, which is filing for a
license to operate under a state economic empowerment provision.
The economic empowerment provision helps
provide for minority populations that have faced the brunt of marijuana
prohibition punishments achieve social and economic justice, according to
Timothy Flaherty, the attorney representing the Western Front team.
The Western Front’s board includes a number
of Massachusetts business and community leaders who have addressed social
justice issues in the past, including board chair Marvin Gilmore.
Gilmore has a long and storied history in
the Boston area and beyond. He co-founded Unity Bank and Trust, was a major
real estate developer in the Southwest Corridor of Boston, owned the storied
Western Front nightclub in Cambridge, and was awarded the Legion of Honor,
among other awards, for helping storm the beaches of Normandy in World War II.
Economic empowerment applications get
priority for consideration at the Cannabis Control Commission, Flaherty said.
As for the proposed site at 121 Webster
Ave., Flaherty said as a stand-alone building in an area with adequate parking,
is an optimal site for a retail marijuana facility.
All marijuana products will be shipped in
pre-packaged from a wholesaler, and the facility will feature a host of
security measures, from cameras the Chelsea Police can immediately access to a
what Flaherty called a mind-boggling number of alarms.
Chelsea police officials were satisfied with
the security measures for the building, according to John DePriest, the City’s
Inside the shop, plans also call for a
future workforce development area and a work bar where consumers can gather
before entering the retail sales floor.
The sales area will be like “a cross between
a jewelry store and a spa,” said Flaherty.
The facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 9
p.m., seven days per week. There will be a total of about 25 employees, with
eight to 10 working at any given time.
“The goal is to hire 100 percent Chelsea
residents,” said Flaherty.
All those employees will be trained and
certified by the Cannabis Control Commission.
“I’m impressed by the group before us and
their commitment to social justice,” said Council President Damali Vidot.
District 3 City
Councillor Joe Perlatonda also said he was very impressed with the organization
and happy that they are committed to hiring Chelsea residents.
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
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,”
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
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.
The City Council has asked that City Manager
Tom Ambrosino use the next month to figure out some new parking strategies for
the city instead of spending a hefty sum on a major Parking Study.
Ambrosino said the Council had instructed
him to put out a bid for a parking study late last year, but there was only one
bidder on the project. That bid did not include the whole city and was more
On Monday, the Council held a Committee
meeting to discuss the next steps, steps that don’t include spending such a sum
on a study.
“The Council at the end of the meeting on
Monday wanted to explore the idea of internal remediation before proceeding
with an expensive outside study,” he said.
Ambrosino said he and his administration
will spend the next month “brainstorming” some ideas and recommendations to
help with the parking bottleneck in many areas of the City – including the
Ambrosino said they do see it as a problem
in several aspects of the city.
“There’s no question it’s a problem in the
city,” he said. “There are way too many cars and not enough parking spaces.
There is no simple solution to that problem. Long-time, we do have an agreement
as part of the Tobin Bridge Viaduct project to add 135 spaces only a short walk
from downtown. That might help a little bit, but that’s three years away.”
One solution he will not suggest is to
reduce parking requirements for new development. While many might think that is
counter to solving a parking problem, many planners now believe that one
solution to reducing the numbers of cars is to build developments without
That won’t be a solution he suggests again,
after having had lower parking requirements rejected by the Council only two
“I don’t see the Council reducing parking any
time soon,” he said. “It’s not something I’m going to re-submit.”
The City might have to put up with traffic
backups for nearly three years on the Chelsea Viaduct, but there will be a
mitigation package for the City when the dust all settles.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they have
received a mitigation package to go along with the Viaduct project, which
starts on April 1.
“We got what I thought was a reasonable
mitigation package from MassDOT,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but at the end
of the day it was reasonable.”
One of the major improvements will be two
new, fully constructed public parking lots under the Tobin curves when the
project is done.
Ambrosino said it will include 135 public
parking spaces just a block from downtown Chelsea, something he hopes will help
alleviate some of the parking crunch in the area.
There will also be parking constructed under
the curves at Carter Street too.
One key piece of the puzzle that will remain
as part of the package is the Arlington Street onramp by the Williams School.
MassDOT had toyed with the idea of eliminating that ramp in early designs, but
pushback from the community seemed to keep that idea at bay.
Other pieces of mitigation include:
•A robust snow fence for noise mitigation.
•Money for community engagement to inform everyone
of the project over the three years.
•Repaving Fourth Street.
•lighting improvements under the Bridge after
the project is completed.
The Forbes Park development proposal, with
more than 500 residential units proposed for the former industrial campus, has
been approved by the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) after four years and two
The final iteration of the project includes
590 units of housing, with 60 percent of those units being condos for sale and
59 units being affordable to a range of incomes. There are also 1.6 parking
spaces per unit, or 963 spaces. The project also boasts a major public access
area to the waterfront of the Chelsea Creek and Mill Creek. The current project
also has a very small amount of retail and office uses, with both totaling
below 20,000 sq. ft.
The project, though still very large, was
scaled back from the developer’s (YIHE Forbes of China) original proposal in
2015. That proposal featured skyscrapers about 21 stories tall and more than
1,000 units of housing accompanied by large office spaces and large hotels. It
was rejected informally and the company eventually withdrew during a ZBA
meeting that went past midnight.
The news of Tuesday’s approval of the new
plan was viewed with mixed results by most, including those who had come to
support the project, including City Manager Tom Ambrosino.
“I’m happy with the project even though it’s
far from perfect,” he said. “Given all the concessions made since they first
showed up here, I think it’s a workable project. There is lots of
homeownership, with 60 percent being condos. This is the largest condo project
in Chelsea for more than a decade if not longer. They also have really exciting
plans for accessing the waterfront along the Chelsea Creek.”
Ambrosino said they also agreed to several
affordable housing concessions. Of the required 59 units of affordable housing,
the mix will include many different income ranges, including 60 percent of the
Area Median Income (AMI), 50 percent of the AMI and 30 percent of the AMI.
“That’s really deeply affordable and it
assures that actual families that live in Chelsea now will be able to afford to
live in the complex. That was very important to the City,” he said.
The developer also agreed to contribute
$300,000 to the four schools at the Mary C. Burke Complex, which is about two
blocks from the Forbes entrance.
That said, not everyone was happy with the
news – and in particular was Councillor Joe Perlatonda, who represents the Mill
Hill and Forbes area. He said the problem with the Forbes project is the same
as it has always been, and that problem is the fact that there is one access
In the first iteration, City officials –
including Ambrosino – had called for a bridge over the Chelsea Creek to Revere
as a second access point to alleviate traffic in the neighborhood. However,
this time around that was not made a requirement, and Perlatonda said he was
not happy there was a concession made on that point.
“It’s a shame that no one has thought about
the concessions of the residents that live in our neighborhood,” he said.
“Right now, with cars parked on both sides of the street that go into the
Forbes site, and what we have to go through every day. Try getting out of your
driveway every day; try driving down the street when you have to dodge cars,
and then add 963 parking spaces which is 1.6 cars per unit. But someone seems
to forget about the cars they will have for each unit like the mother, father
and kids that all have cars, not to mention the visitors or guests that will
come with cars. Has anyone thought where to put the overflow of these cars? Our
streets are already congested, and getting in and out will be so bad. This is
just part of the nightmare.”
GreenRoots Executive Director Roseann
Bongiovanni said they didn’t believe the project was perfect, but felt there
had been reasonable concessions made about their concerns.
“We had a number of concerns relating to the
impacts on the neighborhood, and we feel that we have achieved some reasonable
concessions from the developers,” she said. “The number of affordable units,
deeper levels of affordability and preference for Chelsea residents for those
units – together with the mitigation for the adjacent neighborhood and the
$300,000 for the four schools at the Mary C. Burke Complex are all concessions
that we are proud to have fought hard for…GreenRoots is committed to ongoing
dialogue – and protest if necessary – to ensure the benefits are for everyone
in the community, not just the lucky few who will get to live at Forbes.”
Ambrosino said the site is very large, and
that did allow the developer to be able to build large numbers of units by
right if they chose to do so and could meet the parking requirements. That, he
said, would have cut the City and the neighborhood out of the planning
completely. He felt it wasn’t worth the risk to chance that.
“They could have gone in by right and built
450 units and 900 parking spots and got a building permit without any say from
the City or the neighbors,” he said.
The project has already cleared Major Site
Plan at the Planning Board, but has many hurdles to clear at City Hall in
reviewing plans before they can break ground.
It is believed
that the developer plans to keep three of the smaller buildings on site and
rehabilitate them. The rest of the project will be new construction.
Chelsea real estate agent Jeffrey Bowen said
all the hard work by city officials over the past 20 years is paying off.
“Chelsea is booming,” says Bowen. “City
Managers Jay Ash and Tom Ambroino, the city councilors, and the community have
brought it back to where we are now. Chelsea is the No. 1 gateway city in
America with the lowest price-per-foot next to a major metropolitan city
Bowen knows much the city’s resurgence and the booming real estate scene. He is currently marketing his third major project, Parker Place, 12 new luxury condominiums at the corner of Parker Street and Spencer Avenue. The developer for the three projects has been Jason Roback of Roback Real Estate.
“Jason prides himself in bringing value and
quality to the future residents of Chelsea,” credited Bowen.
Bowen and his partner, Sandra Castillo, of
ERA Russell Realty Group, will host an open house each Saturday and Sunday
(12-2 p.m.) at Parker Place, which is already drawing significant interest
among prospective buyers.
Bowen’s previous successes span the city,
notably the Beacon Condominiums (81 Broadway) and the Thomas Martin Lofts (204
Parker Place, located at 87 Parker St, is a
seven-story building featuring 12 units: 11 two-bed, two-bath, one two-bed,
one-bath. Five of the units have garage parking, seven have outdoor spots. Out
of the 11 two-bed, two-bath units, one is an affordable unit for medium-income
residents (price to be determined by the City of Chelsea).
According to Bowen and Castillo, the prices
at Parker Place range from $449,000 to $539,000.
condo has air-conditioning, maple hardwood flooring, custom kitchens, and
stainless-steel appliances,” said Bowen. “This in an elevator building. Four of
the units have roof decks. Eight of the units have balconies.”
Bowen said the area has become one of the
hottest in the greater Boston real estate market.
“You have the DaVinci Lofts (960 Broadway),
the Industrie Lofts (950 Broadway), the Spencer Lofts (60 Dudley St.), the Keen
Lofts (220 Spencer Ave.), and the Thomas Martin Lofts (204 Spencer Ave.),’ said
And the boon is continuing, with the Chelsea
Zoning Board’s approval Tuesday night of the Forbes Development that will
consist of 590 units.
A good time to buy
There is no time like the present to invest
in Chelsea, according to Bowen.
“Condominium prices are 25-50 percent higher
a mile or two away in East Boston and Charlestown,” said Bowen. “Downtown
Boston and the Seaport District (South Boston) is double and triple. Chelsea is
still very affordable. It’s a good time to buy. You get more bang for your
buck. There is room to grow here.”
Other advantages for buyers are access to
Route 1, the Silver Line, five bus routes, and a commuter rail. Five new hotels
in Chelsea also underline the fact that the city is flourishing. The new Encore
Casino opens in Everett in June.
Bowen takes personal pride in Chelsea’s
resurgence. A resident of the city, he was featured in a recent segment on
Channel 5’s “Chronicle,” showcasing all the good things that are happening
“Sandra and I are our team and we work well
together helping people find the residence of their dreams,” said Bowen, who
has been No. 1 in the luxury condominium segment of real estate in Chelsea. “I
have a relationship with a lender that has a program with rates as low as 3.69
percent on a 30-year fixed mortgage that also includes $7,000-lender-paid
closing costs (for qualified buyers).”
Said Castillo, “Whenever we go in to a
building, we actually get the highest price for the seller. We also get calls
from previous buyers and we’ve been able to double their investment. Our condos
don’t last very long on the market because they are such a great value and they
have everything people are looking for.”
information about Parker Place Condominums, please email
Much of the public discussion over the Smart
Growth overlay district for Central Avenue over the past several months has
focused on the technical aspects of the zoning ordinance.
But Monday night, as the City Council
unanimously approved the Smart Growth zoning – which will pave the way for the
Innes Development project to move closer to becoming a reality – much of the
talk focused on the human and community benefits of that decision.
As the final vote was made official, cheers
and applause were heard from Innes residents, project development team members,
and even City Planning and Development Director John DePriest.
“This will allow for new homes that all the
residents of Chelsea can be proud to call their own,” said Ronnie Slamin, the
project director for Corcoran, the developer behind the Innes Street/ Central
Avenue housing redevelopment plan.
The special zoning designation, allows the
mixed-income project to have its own, special regulations for parking and
density and other requirements. It also unlocks $5 million in state and local
funding for the project.
Corcoran Development will assist in
developing the 330-unit community on the site of the current housing
development. Those units will include the existing 96 public housing units, as
well as 40 workforce housing units. The remaining 194 units will be market
rate, and with the state and federal grants, will subsidize the replacement of
the public housing units.
Overall, the development would have a 41
percent affordable ratio, which is three times as much as what would normally
be required by the City and double the state requirements.
For many of the current Innes residents, and
for members of the Chelsea Housing Authority, it is a major step forward to
replace the current units, which are rundown and decades old.
“It is our dream to live in new apartments
that are safe and decent for our children, elderly, and the disabled,” said
Melissa Booth, co-president of the Innes Residents Association.
The Smart Growth overlay district will cover
the current footprint of the Innes Development, and puts a premium on
affordable housing and access to public transportation.
Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) board member
Bertram Taverna said the Innes redevelopment is the kind of opportunity that
the City has not seen for decades.
“We are talking about an opportunity for
these 96 families, as well as 40 more affordable housing units,” said Taverna.
“Everybody is invested in this project and wholeheartedly all in.”
CHA Executive Director Al Ewing said the
redevelopment will give the city the ability to deliver on its promise of
providing a home where residents can be proud to live and raise their families.
“This is a win for the City of Chelsea,”
said District 8 Councillor Calvin T. Brown. “Folks are going to see that
Chelsea can do this and other cities are going to do this.”
Council President Damali Vidot said it’s
been a long road for the Innes project to move forward. The Council voted down
a project three years ago because prevailing wages for workers wasn’t on the
With prevailing wages now part of the
development proposal, the only major issue that gained any traction over the
past several months was, unsurprisingly, parking.
While the smart growth zoning is one major
step towards getting shovels in the ground for the project, developers will be
back before the Council for approval of a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) tax
break for the project. That is expected to come before the Council later in the
Vidot said that parking will be addressed in
proposing 226 on-site parking spots, with an option to lease another 50 parking
So much happens within every municipality that needs to be shared: upcoming events, new initiatives, important updates, celebrations of success. And there’s myriad ways in which each department of City Hall interfaces with the public in routine ways, from applications for parking permits to business licenses, to simple correspondence to the uniforms of Department of Public Work employees repairing the streets. Inherent in all of this communication is a message about how the municipality functions. Each represents an opportunity to say something about the City of Chelsea itself.
The new Chelsea City Seal features a more appropriate figure and a consistent design.
To make the most of these
opportunities, the City of Chelsea has just released a Style Guide that details
the specific graphic style for all communications from the ten City Hall
departments and nearly twenty boards and commissions. The goal of the
effort is to establish a consistent brand identity that’s professional, clear,
and attractive. The guide details typography, colors, photography and
formatting that together create a distinctive look for City Hall’s print and
digital materials. For administrative staff at City Hall, a suite of templates
facilitate the quick creation of regularly needed materials within the
established style. The refreshed documents include letterhead and envelopes,
agendas and minutes, business cards and brochures, forms and flyers, reports
and PowerPoint slide decks.
The underlying goal of
the project is that quality, consistent design will demonstrate a unified voice
whenever expressed by an agent of Chelsea’s city offices. Quality design
demonstrates competence and professionalism. Through a clear graphic identity
the public will be able to better recognize services provided by municipal
Over the past eight
months, a team of City Hall staff representing a variety of departments worked
with design consultant, Catherine Headen, to develop the guide. After
reviews, working sessions and a special event with City Hall staff the
completed Guide and templates are formally released this week.
A major aspect of the
work was refining of the City Seal. Over the decades numerous changes had
led to an evolution of the design, drifting the illustration away from the
original as detailed in the banner hanging Chelsea’s City Council
Chambers. When the team began, nearly a dozen different images were in use
as a City Seal across municipal departments. The design details had
changed so significantly that the group was surprised to discover lost elements
prescribed within the City Charter: “The following shall be the device of the
corporate seal of the city: A representation within a circle of a shield
surmounted by a star, the shield bearing upon it the representation of an
American Indian chief and wigwams; at the right of the shield, a sailboat such
as was formerly used for ferriage; at the left of the shield, a view of the
city and a steam ferryboat; under the shield, the word “Winnisimmet;” around
the shield, the words “Chelsea, settled 1624; a Town 1739; a City 1857.”
The unveiling of the new look with take place over time. City staff will
continue to use the print materials already on hand but will use the new
templates for all their future materials. The new style is intended for the
main City Hall departments and doesn’t extend to the City’s Police and Fire
departments or to the schools.
Dr. Fatima Maarouf is approaching the second
anniversary of her growing dental practice, Harborside Dental, 313 Main Street.
Two years ago Dr. Maarouf made a major
decision in her career to acquire the practice of long-time Winthrop dentist,
Dr. Richard Schwartz, who had served the community for four decades.
“Dr. Schwartz retired and I took over the
practice,” said Dr. Maarouf proudly.
One of the first orders of business was
selecting a name for her new practice. As a homage to the town’s status as a
seaside treasure, Dr. Maarouf chose, “Harborside.”
think of Winthrop as a beach town and I love the beach and being around
Winthrop, so we decided Harborside is a good, calming name,” she revealed.
Dr. Maarouf has made an investment in the
town and its future. She and her husband, Hugo Solis, who works as an attorney
for the BPDA and as a real estate agent for the Winthrop office of Coldwell
Banker, moved from East Boston to Winthrop a year ago. Harborside Dental is a
member of the Chamber of Commerce and she and her husband are members of the
Cottage Park Yacht Club.
Harborside’s dental assistant, Mirjeta
Gjinovici, and treatment coordinator, Lindsey Robinson, also call Winthrop
There have been some noticeable changes made
in the dental office in the past two years. Dr. Maarouf renovated the entire
office, installing new dental chairs, computers, software and other
Dr. Maarouf, 33, grew up in Lebanon where
she attended American University of Beirut and received her degree in Biology
in 2007. She graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of
Dentistry in Richmond in 2011. She moved to Boston in 2012 and completed her
residency program at Tufts University, performing adult special needs dental
care and hospital-based dental care.
“I ended up loving Boston and staying in the
area,” said Dr. Maarouf.
became an associate dentist at offices in the Boston area, but had dreamed of
having her own practice.
“I realized that eventually I wanted to be a
business owner,” said Dr. Maarouf. “When this practice came up, it was in a
really cute town and excellent location with ample parking and T accessibility,
so I felt it was a great opportunity. My husband and I really love it here. My
team also lives here. We’re all invested in the town.”
Dr. Maarouf performs dentistry for patients
of all ages, as early as age one to those in their senior years.
“We do a variety of fillings, crowns,
fluoride treatments (for children), cleanings, extensive veneer and bridgework,
implants, extractions, and teeth whitening,” said Dr. Maarouf. “We also work
closely with specialists for certain procedures such as extensive root canals
and implant placement.”
Dr. Maarouf recommends preventative care for
all patients and suggests regular checkups every six months.
She has begun a series of educational visits
to local pre-schools where she talks about the importance of dental care.
“Prevention is really important, especially when kids are young,” she said. “I
try to teach them that it’s fun to be at the dentist.”
Dr. Maarouf tries to accommodate her many
patients’ work and activity schedules with expanded office hours (8 a.m.- 7
p.m. on some days and is open one Saturday a month).
And she is also expanding her knowledge,
keeping abreast of the latest technological advances in the dentistry. “I do a
lot of continuing education courses and attend workshops and seminars
throughout the country.”
Dr. Maarouf said the decision to open her
own practice was a tough one, but she is pleased with the reception in Winthrop
and excited about her future here.
“There are challenges that you don’t
anticipate and you’re responsible for everything, good and bad, so there’s a
lot that is put on your shoulders – but when you’re trying to create something
that you love, it makes it all worth it at the end of the day,” Dr. Maarouf