March 2021 Meeting Minutes

Hello Members and Friends of Egleston Square Neighborhood Association,

Here are notes from our March meeting and other updates:

  • Police Report
  • Egleston Square Redesign – update with Boston Transportation Planner William Moose
  • Egleston Liquor License Transfer – Discussion with Carlos Castillo, new owner
  • Updates
  • Upcoming Events

Police Report

Officer Jones presented the Police Report, using a new format, focusing less on overall statistics and more on particular incidents.  We discussed these:

 – aggravated assault that led to an arrest, related to a domestic dispute

 – 2 motor vehicles stolen; there has been a spike in auto thefts, from 4 last year to 11 this year; at times vehicles are stolen with the keys in the ignition – that was not the case for these 2 thefts

 – illegal gambling at a shop in Egleston Square

 – a gun arrest

Egleston Square Redesign – update with Boston Transportation Planner William Moose

William Moose, Transportation Planner with Boston Transportation Dept. (BTD) gave us an update on the Egleston Square Redesign project.  He told us Egleston Square is one of them most dangerous intersections in the city for traffic safety.  The Redesign is an opportunity to address some neighborhood safety issues:  prioritize bike and walking, improve the public realm, improve traffic flow, enhance safety for traveling to and from schools, and provide better bike connections to the Southwest Corridor.  Some of the tools BTD can use are curb extensions, raised sidewalks, creating space for benches and bike parking, creating chicanes (curves) to slow traffic, and considering 2-way bike flow on one-way streets.  BTD is working with transportation consultants from Kittleson & Associates. 

Boston Cyclists Union is exploring ways to contribute to the Redesign.  They are working with Bikes not Bombs and have collected feedback from neighbors about bike and walking routes; they are also collecting feedback from an online survey.  They will share the feedback with BTD.

We expect a public meeting around the status of Egleston Square Redesign soon.

Egleston Liquor License Transfer – Discussion with Carlos Castillo, new owner

Carlos Castillo, the new owner of Egleston Liquor, met with us for a positive discussion about his plans to purchase Egleston Liquors from Solomon Lemma, who is retiring.  He currently owns and operates two other liquor stores, one in Nubian Square (since 2013) and one on Dearborn St. (since 2019), and also works in real estate and construction.

Carlos plans to keep the current staff at the store and add additional staff from his other two stores, and will add delivery service.  The store will be remodeled, including adding new signage, clearing window obstructions, adding see-through grates, and keeping lighting on at night.  He may add a 500 sq. ft. addition for storage in the rear – if a variance is needed, he will let neighbors know. 

We discussed the long-standing issues in Egleston Square with public drinking, addiction-related behavior, and trash from the liquor stores.  Carlos said he will ban people who are inebriated.  He told us his staff will clean in front of the store daily, will clean the parking lot across the street and along Weld Avenue once a week, and will clean the Peace Garden once a month.  He is willing to work with the Chauncy Liquor Mart to explore a deposit on nips and single serve containers for trash reduction.  Carlos plans to join Egleston Square Main Street – he currently serves as Treasurer for Roxbury Main Streets – and that he will maintain good communication with ESNA. 

ESNA members attended the meeting with the Public Service Committee of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) on 3/2, and spoke in support of the liquor license transfer to Carlos Castillo.  The JPNC voted to support the transfer.  The Liquor Licensing Board hearing was held on 3/3, and we expect the liquor license transfer to be approved.

Other Updates

Denise Delgado, Director of Egleston Square Main Street, announced a round of PPP funding (Paycheck Protection Program) for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, including sole proprietors and minority-owned businesses.  

Robert Lawson Park Redesign – The design team met with Boston Parks Department to get clarification on whether the stones could be moved, and on utility connections.  It looks like the stones can be moved – it took some research and required confirmation that the stones are not part of a public art project.  We learned more about the cost and restrictions on bringing electricity and water into the Park. 

Egleston Square Branch Library Study – We are so encouraged to expect a new and beautiful library given that 11 years ago we were fighting for the survival of the library!  The third public meeting was held on 3/9, and ESNA members attended.  ESNA supports exploring the addition of housing to the Library site.  The presentation included a review of the feedback the Library Study Team has received, and diagrams of proposed services and space allotment for the new Library.  The bulk of the discussion focused on outreach and housing.  Taylor Cain, Director of Boston’s Housing Innovation Lab, offered to hold an April workshop focused on affordable housing to provide background and information.  We are also expecting a meeting in May with further Library Study updates.  Neighbors are encouraged to attend and participate in community meetings, such as the library discussion, in order to have a voice in the future of designs and developments in the community.

Study website

See article by Lauren Bennett in the JP Gazette

ESNA Housing Committee – The Committee submitted a comment letter to the BPDA on the change at 3193 Washington Street from ownership to rental, supporting City Realty’s proposal to lower the income levels for the affordable units from the income levels required for affordable condos to the lower income levels required for rental units, and requesting that one of the larger 3-bedroom units be included in the affordable mix. 

The Committee is following variance requests for 176 School St., 87-89 West Walnut Park, and 12-14 Ennis Road.

Upcoming Events

ESNA monthly meeting – online, first Monday of the month, 6:30 pm.
Meeting ID:  871 7830 1539   
Password: 139842                              

Link also on Facebook

Shattuck Campus Redevelopment – Tuesday, 4/13, 6:30 pm Presentation on draft Project Proposal,

Zoning Committee, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council – 4/7, 7 pm – 14 Ennis Rd is on the agenda; 4/21 – 87-89 West Walnut Park is on the agenda.  For meeting info, see