Teaming Up to Shed Light on Cambridge St Recess

By Dan Murphy

A once-darkened recess on Cambridge Street is looking a lot brighter and less daunting to passersby, thanks to a concerted effort involving a neighbor, the city and a responsive landlord.

Last summer, John Corey, a member of the Beacon Hill Civic Association board of directors and its then-newly launched Cambridge Street Committee, approached Kimberly Parker of the Abrams Management Company, Inc., a Boston firm specializing in affordable housing, and suggested a modification to one of its properties about to undergo an extensive, exterior rehabilitation at 250 Cambridge St. Citing a long history of public intoxication, loitering and other nefarious activities in the poorly lit, street-level garage, Corey suggested building a door flush with the sidewalk to close off access to a space he likened to an “empty cave.”

Parker acknowledged the garage had long been a major concern for the management company and passed along Corey’s recommendation to the project’s architect, Matthew Doyle, who duly incorporated it into his plans for the site.

The Abrams Management Company was also able to secure grant money for the project, since 250 Cambridge St. is home to affordable housing.

For his part, Corey enlisted the assistance of Kate Bell, City Councilor Josh Zakim’s neighborhood liaison, and the councilor worked with the Boston Transportation Department and the city’s Public Works Department to help secure a former parking space that now serves as a turn-lane into the garage.

Zakim described the process as a  “good example of neighborhood groups, commercial landlords and the city working together to make the experience more pleasant along Cambridge Street.”

Suzanne Besser, president of the Civic Association’s board of directors, hopes this project will lead to future, proactive collaborations involving neighbors, businesses, landlords and police – not only from the city, but also Massachusetts General and Suffolk University – to help address other troublesome spots on Cambridge Street.

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