The Highland Park Community Celebrates with HBI at Putnam Chapel

The Highland Park Community Celebrates with HBI at Putnam Chapel

For a steamy night in late July, you might not expect a crowd to troop out in the heat for a meeting after work. The heat didn’t stop a group of 50 or so Highland Park residents from gathering in Putnam Chapel at the First Church in Roxbury for a potluck dinner and discussion.

The highlight of the night was a palpable sense of accomplishment and elation as residents were able to speak with the HBI team about the forthcoming acquisition of the church building. The night was only made sweeter when the Church’s youth group delivered their trays of homemade desserts.

RevMary Margaret Earl of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry started the night with a welcome to the group, passing the microphone around to a number of Highland Park residents, each in turn congratulating their neighbors on a their effort in saving the church.

HBI’s Shaurya Batra presented the current state of the interior and exterior of the building, sharing a timeline of the construction and proposed options for the renovation of the church building and back parcel.

The plans include a variety of mixed-use public and residential uses that would include affordable and market rate housing. The plans all have the ultimate aim to support the upkeep of the building and ensure the affordable housing is sustainable.

The slides from the presentation are available upon request.

HBI was thrilled to hear the excitement and support of the residents, and grateful for the community insights into how the plans might better serve the needs of the area.

Future meetings about the St. James African Orthodox Church will be scheduled during the month of September. Stay in the loop by following HBI on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.