Thank you & Farewell to Ellie Greenler

Thank you and farewell to Ellie Greenler

Not only are we saying goodbye to the warm and colorful seasons of the RVMS Farmers Market,  but we will also be saying thank you and farewell to our Farmers Market Manager, Ellie Greenler. Ellie was promoted at her other part-time job at the Boston Public Health Commission as a full-time Case Management Coordinator in the Homelessness Services Department. We are so proud of her — and we will miss her in the office and in Adams Park dearly! Ellie brought both compassion and energy to all of 2018 — she managed both this year’s Winter and Summer Farmers Markets with pure joy and a go-getter attitude. When you visit the last market of the 2018 season on November 17th (THIS Saturday), be sure to give Ellie a hug or high-five and wish her lots of luck in her new endeavors. We love you, Ellie!

This also means we’re hiring — and if you’re interested, you would be trained by this amazing woman. 

New Business Profile: Studio Luz Architects

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Studio Luz Architects

Architects Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony Piermarini relocated their Fort Point practice, Studio Luz Architects, to Roslindale Village (67 Poplar Street, next door to the Treasure Chest) just a few weeks ago. Studio Luz is “an agile, forward thinking practice that strives to link social responsibility, sustainable construction practices with built material expression.”

Both Hansy and Anthony are familiar with how warm and welcoming the Rozzie community is because they also live here! When asked why they moved their practice from Downtown, they both explained, “More design, less commute.” They walk to work now and “shop a lot more at Village Market for groceries, PS Gourmet for coffee, Romano’s for tacos, ice cream at Jimmies Cafe with their kids, and they buy gift cards for their clients at Sophia’s Grotto.”

You may recognize the work of Studio Luz (as well as their nonprofit BR+A+CE) when you remember the Big Hammock that made its home at the RVMS Farmers Market three and a half years ago. Other work includes large residential projects in the South End and Bay Village, their energy-efficient home in Roslindale, and the Harpoon Brewery Beer Hall, to name a few.

Studio Luz is also part of the City of Boston’s Office of Economic Development’s ReStore Program, led by Steve Rumpler, where the focus is on preserving and improving Boston’s storefronts and helping local businesses thrive. Hansy and Anthony enjoy being a cultural community resource and have actually both served as volunteers on RVMS’s Design Committee in 2010, supporting the beautification efforts of our business district.

We are excited to welcome back Studio Luz in this new way – and happy that this community-minded architecture firm found Roslindale as its perfect home. Keep an eye out for pop-up exhibitions in their windows soon – they hope to highlight the work of Latinx leaders and people of color.

Studio Luz Architects
67 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA 02131

New Business Profile: Veras Multi Service

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Veras Multi Service

Alexandra Veras recently opened Veras Multi Service at 11 Poplar Street, one of Roslindale Village’s newest businesses! We visited Alexandra and let us know that she is a Notary Public specializing in primarily supporting customers with filling out immigration forms in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Alexandra has a passion for helping family, friends, and the immigrant community by providing a helping hand in for paperwork of all kinds — filling out the FAFSA, filing taxes for Uber Drivers, applying for citizenship or public housing — and much more. There are also stations for printing, which is great for the community since we lost that service at Staples. She also let us know that she lived in Roslindale for 14 years and that she “never dreamt to be on Poplar Street in front of Adams Park. It’s amazing!” 

You can learn more about Veras Multi Service by stopping by to say hi, visiting her website, or calling her at (617) 506-7272.

Veras MultiService
11 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA 02131

Partners in Preservation Results

Partners in Preservation Results

A huge thank you to those who voted every day during the Partners in Preservation competition, which included 20 Main Street districts and a building in need of preservation funding. We were happy to put a spotlight on the Roslindale Congregational Church, UCC — a beautiful historic building in our neighborhood and their accessibility project to build a ramp, lift, and wheelchair-accessible bathroom. Unfortunately, we fell short by just a few votes and ended the competition in 12th place — the top 11 contenders received full-funding. 
While this is disappointing, we are happy to have connected with our neighbors at the RCC and built stronger partnerships throughout Rozzie and the City of Boston. We were also able to fund an iPad and popcorn machine for the church (especially helpful for their First Friday events in Roslindale) as well as professional photos of the Church that they can use for their website and outreach efforts. 
More importantly, we were able to highlight all of the amazing communities that meet and hold events in this historic Rozzie space. We want to thank Mayor Walsh for taking time out of his day to visit us at the Partners in Preservation Open House as well as all of the volunteers and community groups, especially Heather Garcia, Sue Whitehead, Liz Sherva, Erin Doherty, Anthony Giordano, Liz Graham-Meredith, Kathy Sullivan, Vinny Fieg, Elizabeth Fieg, Pastor Jason Donnelly, Sue Donnelly, the folks from Roslindale Open Studios, Roslindale Food Pantry, RISE (Roslindale is For Everyone), Scouts of America, Adoptive Parents, and Historic Boston, Inc. Thank you for your help in promoting this event by volunteering your time to help apply for the grant, be interviewed, support with social media and videography, march in the Roslindale Parade, table at the Farmers Market, table at the Open House, spread the word to close friends and distant family to get out the vote. 
We are happy to have connected with so many amazing people during this project, and while it would have felt better to have won the funding, we will continue to support the RCC as it seeks alternative ways to fund this preservation project and help make this remarkable building accessible to everyone.
Many thanks,
Alia Hamada Forrest
RVMS Executive Director

Revitalizing Poplar Street

Revitalizing Poplar Street

Let’s work together to enhance the sidewalk across from Adams Park: encourage foot traffic, provide community gathering space, and benefit local business. View our Patronicity Campaign for more info and a video!

With this campaign, we aim to improve and beautify the Poplar Street sidewalk that runs alongside Adams Park in the heart of Roslindale Village. This project will boost pedestrian and retail traffic, enhance green space, create a place for people to meet, and better link this stretch of Poplar Street to Adams Park. This initiative is possible with the generous support of the Boston Main Streets Foundation and MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency. Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS) intends to raise $25,000 in support of this highly visible initiative. With your help we can reach this goal! If we do, MassDevelopment will match our funds with an additional $25,000 and the Boston Main Streets Foundation will contribute $5,000 toward this important project.

The Project

Through the tireless efforts of residents, business partners, and Roslindale Village Main Street, Roslindale’s Main Street district has become the bustling, vibrant, heart of the neighborhood. These efforts have been so successful that The Boston Globe Magazine frequently cites Roslindale as one of the city’s best neighborhoods in which to live.

While many blocks in Roslindale have benefited from numerous improvement projects, the Poplar Street stretch of sidewalk between South and Corinth Streets, across from Adams Park suffers from neglect and fails to serve as an attractive pedestrian way. It’s poorly lit at night. It lacks impact and flare during the day. This project will remedy these problems.

This initiative will brighten Poplar Street, add attractive design elements, and make other material improvements. Such enhancements to this popular thoroughfare will draw increased foot traffic to local businesses, and instill a sense of community pride among the people of Roslindale. This project will also link Poplar Street to Adams Park, adding needed space for people to gather and interact during community events at the park, such as the weekly Farmers’ Market.

What We Plan To Do

With funds from this campaign, Roslindale Village Main Street will implement the following improvements*:

  • Work with local artists to paint sidewalk murals to beautify the street.
  • Add seating that will encourage people to rest, eat, converse, and mingle.
  • Add planters to sidewalks and seating areas in order to create a more pleasant and beautiful environment.
  • Place bicycle racks to support increased bicycle traffic and reduce parking needs.
  • Install new recycling and trash containers to reduce litter.
  • Install decorative lighting to better illuminate the sidewalk at night.
  • Add lighting and improved wayfinding to the informational kiosk.

*These improvements are subject to review and approval by the relevant city departments. 

How You Can Help

Our friends, neighbors, and local businesses make Roslindale great. This project will make Roslindale a wonderful place to visit and an even better place to live. Here’s how you can help:

  • Donate: this project will only succeed with your financial support. Every dollar you donate will be matched with $1.20 by MassDev and Boston Main Streets if we reach our goal!
  • Spread the word: tell friends and neighbors about this campaign. Share it on social media.
  • Volunteer: Roslindale Village Main Street flourishes thanks to the hard work of our friends, neighbors, and business partners who donate their time. Contact us to find out how you can help.

Rozzie & Me: Bird Mancini

Rozzie & Me: Bird Mancini 

The Rozzie & Me blog series is guest-written by RVMS Marketing Committee Volunteer Kelly Ransom. Kelly will be interviewing residents, business-owners, and folks from all walks-of-life who make Roslindale a special place to live and work.

Ruby Bird and Billy Carl Mancini, better known as BIRD MANCINI, Boston’s acclaimed accordion/guitar rock duo/band features eclectic and at times a bit psychedelic rock with lush vocal arrangements, blues-tinged guitar, accordion, harmonica, and a variety of percussion, bells and whistles. If the occasion warrants, the duo also performs as a full band, adding Joel White on bass and Joe Jaworski on drums to the mix. Today we hear from Ruby and Billy about their musical journeys and how the ended up in Roslindale.

Kelly: Where are you from originally and where you live now?

Ruby: I grew up on a farm in Missouri.

Billy: I was born much closer than that. I grew up in New Hampshire, but I moved to Tucson when I was 18 and that is where I met Ruby. That is why she is here now.


K: How did you end up in Roslindale?

B: We ended up in Boston, at that time, Roslindale was a lot different. There was a lot less here. It was almost a little rundown.

R: It had a charm and it was affordable for us. We wanted to buy a house because we needed a place to rehearse and we wanted to build a recording studio. We wanted a house to do all that because you can’t really do it in an apartment.

B: We did do it in an apartment!

R: Right, we did do it in an apartment briefly, but it doesn’t work too well.


K: Do you still live in the same house?

R & B: Yes.


K: And is there a recording studio?

R & B: Yes!

R: We had a rock and roll band and we moved that band all the way to the East Coast to play. We were on the road for four years. We ended up in Boston when that band broke up. We needed to go to Boston because it was somewhere music was alive and well. Boston had a great music scene at that time.

B: And then we ended up here in Rozzie, eventually, and we never left.


K: What was your journey into making music?

B: The Beatles inspired me initially. I saw them, and I thought “Hmm…I want to do that!” I was about 12 years old when I began to play drums, then guitar. I started forming bands. I started writing songs. Why? Because The Beatles wrote songs. I started singing, why? Because The Beatles sang. That was it for me and I’ve been doing it ever since. Music is all in my gut and in my head.

R: I started taking piano lessons as a kid, but it was The Beatles that was an eye and ear opener for me too. Everything I listened to was different after that. I went to college to study music for a while to learn all the mechanics.


K: How many instruments do you play? I’ve seen you play more than keyboard at your shows.

R: I don’t have a count, but I play harmonica, percussion, melodica, accordion, organ, and the piano. I play all the keyboard related stuff I can get my hands on. I took it up because I love when a band can do different things especially when they are a duo.

B: Guitar, bass, and drums is really it for me that I can play and not be embarrassed about. I can’t play the keyboard, but I married a keyboard player.

R: And we are singers too. That is an instrument.


K: Tell me the history of your band, Bird Mancini.

R: Bird Mancini goes all the way back to 2002. We became Bird Mancini when our previous band, The Sky Blues, got sued because another band in New York had the same name. We had the name before they did, but they had a better lawyer. That’s kind of the way things work sometimes. It happened at just the right time for us because we were just starting to get interested in playing our own stuff. Getting the rid of The Sky Blues was probably the best thing for us. We came up with our new band name based on our family names. My name is Bird and his is Mancini.

B: And who is going to steal that name?

R: No one can steal it!


K: Have you guys been touring, or do you mostly stay around Boston?

B: We mostly stay around here but we have traveled. We are cool with traveling. We went to Liverpool for a festival and played at the Cavern Club, or what the Cavern is now, which is where The Beatles started in the 60s. We played a couple of shows in Liverpool and that was pretty cool. We did the whole Beatles tour.

R: That was a big year for us. That same year we went to play in Seattle, Portland, Oregon and we did a whole tour of the West Coast. We also played a couple of gigs in New York City. There used to be much more traveling but it’s hard for our rhythm section. We are all tied down with other jobs.

B: It’s super expensive to take a band on the road. You need to take all of your equipment, stay somewhere, eat, and it adds up.


K: I’ve seen you play some shows in Roslindale. I’ve seen you at the Substation and the Farmer’s Market.

B: The Substation show was a cool venue, and the Farmers Market is always cool. We recently played at 753 South, a new venue on the square with a great outdoor patio.

R: That’s about it, really. There aren’t a ton of places to play in Roslindale.


K: Do you wish there were more?

B: I’m not sure about that. I don’t want Roslindale to get out of hand. I’d like to keep it more like a neighborhood and less like the city. I’m not sure I want Roslindale to turn into Cambridge or Somerville.

R: We’ve played at the Farmers Market every year for quite a few years now. Playing at the Trillium pop-up was great. I’d like to play in that space again.


K: What are some of your favorite things to do in Roslindale when you’re not playing music?

B: We love going down to the Farmers Market and seeing Glenn Williams, who is always there, we love hanging out with him. We always see at least five or ten of our friends there. It’s like Mayberry there. 

R: I like to shop at the Farmers Market and at the stores. I really like the Roslindale Fish Market and Droubis Bros. I like the Birch Street stores. I think Roslindale is a great place.


K: What is a favorite memory you have in Roslindale?

R: We used to have a backyard party every year at our house. We’d invite all our neighbors and all of our friends, especially all our musician friends. That party got pretty big. It’d go from noon to midnight. It got so big that even the politicians started showing up.

R: We did that party for about 20 years. Those are some really good memories. We had to stop because it just got to be so big and it was too much work.

B: I don’t know how or why the neighbors put up with us. When we moved to Roslindale, we just had the best neighbors. They actually liked the fact that we had this party. Now, there’s Porchfest once a year.


K: What would you like to see in Roslindale in the future?

R: I want to see it stay just as it is!

B: I think the Substation is going to be a great place for Roslindale. I’d love to see more music there. I really don’t want to see anymore development in Roslindale. 

R: I understand an influx is good for the small businesses and I want the businesses to thrive, but I don’t want to end up like so many of the other neighborhoods in the city. We’ve got a real neighborhood here and I want it to stay a neighborhood.


Bird Mancini has a new full length CD out called “Dreams and Illusions


Upcoming Shows:


Oct. 6  Gardner Ale House, Gardner, MA (full band)

Nov. 30 Jasper Hill, Millis, MA (full band)

Dec. 8  Emerald Rose, Billerica, MA (duo)


Thank you for making Savor the Square 2018 a success!

Thanks to the Volunteers, Restaurants, Sponsors, and Attendees that made Savor the Square a Success

We had a blast at Savor the Square, a special, one-night fundraiser for RVMS that showcases some of Roslindale’s delicious food, on Thursday, September 20th. Attendees purchased “taste tickets” for plates at each of the participating restaurants, and live music by The Swingin’ Three Zeke Martin Trio provided the perfect backdrop for eating, drinking, and socializing.

Thank you to the 11 restaurants that participated and served up some delicious food from cheesecake shooters to chicken cacciatore: 753 South/Delfino, Birch St Bistro, Boston Cheese Cellar, Chilacates, Effie’s Kitchen, Jimmies Cafe, Napper Tandy’s, The Pleasant Cafe, Shanti Restaurant, Sophia’s Grotto, Village Sushi and Grill. 

Attendees voted on their favorite Bite of the Night on their way out the door. We’re excited to share that Chilacates’ Mini Burritos and Tacos won and will be awarded the celebratory butcher block to display in their new Rozzie location until next year’s Savor the Square event! 

Thank you to our event Co-Sponsor The Cooperative Bank and our other supporters.

Thank you to the many local businesses who donated items to our raffle: Alex Bauermeister (Intra Yoga Therapy), Alexandra’s Beauty, Birch St. House & Garden, Blue Star Restaurant, Centre Cuts Salon & Spa, Charles Riverboat Company, Comedy Sportz Boston, Dr. Phyllis Andrejko and the team at New England College of Optometry Center for Eye Care, Effie’s Kitchen, FitChoice 24/7, Fornax, Handel + Haydn Society, Huntington Theater Company, Joanne Rossman – Purveyor of the unnecessary & the irresistible, Lowell Spinners, Museum of Science, P.S. Gourmet, Pet Cabaret, Peter’s Auto,  Rock Climbing Passes, Romano’s Pizzeria and Taqueria, Roslindale Fish Market, Sebastian’s Barber Shop and Salon, Seymore Green, The Thrift Shop of Boston, Threads Boutique, Wallpaper City, YMAA Boston

The event was made possible by dedicated volunteers from our community, the RVMS Board, and RVMS Committees. Thank you to our Event Committee, who devoted many hours to planning the event: Adam Shutes, Erin Doherty, Hilary Sullivan, Liz Graham-Meredith, Liz Sherva, and Terry Fitzgerald. Thank you to RVMS Board and committee members who volunteered at the event: Anthony Giordano, Amy Gitlin, Chris Kollett, Danielle Joseph (West Roxbury Main Streets Executive Director), Liz Sherva, Lydia French, Hilary Sullivan, Kate Schlegel, Jim Nichols, Kathleen Sullivan, Liz Graham-Meredith, Mike Peluse, Nina Pralour, Tracy Porteleki, Terry Fitzgerald, Wendy Zunitch. Thank you to the volunteers from The Cooperative Bank and, of course, a huge thank you to our event emcees: Glenn Williams and Kelly Ransom.

This year’s event included a cash bar that RVMS put together which would not have been possible without RVMS Board Member and owner of Boston Cheese Cellar Adam Shutes and RVMS Board Member Liz Graham-Meredith curating and ordering our beer and wine selection, Craft Beer Cellar assisting with keg set-up, and Napper Tandy’s helping us keep things cold before the event in their fridge!

We are incredibly grateful to Rogerson Communities’ Staff for their help in coordinating this event and also to Allandale Farm for donating so many beautiful plants that truly brought the space alive.

Thank you for joining us this year, and we look forward to another fun event next year! Here is a link to photos from the event, thanks to Bruce Spero Photography.

RVMS Participating in Partners in Preservation: A Main Street Campaign Reflecting Reflecting American Diversity


Roslindale Congregational Church, UCC Can Win Preservation Funding with Support From the Local Community

Boston  September 24, 2018 — As a participant of the 2018 Partners in Preservation campaign, Roslindale Village Main Street is encouraging the public to visit to secure funding to help preserve the Roslindale Congregational Church, UCC (RCC) by installing a lift, ramp, and handicapped accessible bathroom. A lift that enables people to access both the basement and the main floor will ensure that this community-oriented building can fully welcome and be accessible to all for generations to come, while preserving the main facade of the building and its historic integrity as a building that has already served the community for over 125 years.

RCC is a place that matters: an Open & Affirming church, welcoming all, and a pillar of community support. Service projects include the Roslindale Food Pantry (50 years). RCC hosts community meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous, Adoptive Families, Roslindale IS for Everyone (RISE), Jazz, Open Studios, and more. This accessibility project will enable RCC to increase community events hosted and participation for those with disabilities and/or mobility issues in Roslindale.

American Express and The National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with Main Street America, announced today that their annual Partners in Preservation campaign is headed back to Main Street with a focus on sites that celebrate diversity and the fight for equality.

Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership, created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. To-date, it has committed over $22 million in support of more than 200 historic sites across the country. Drawing on the success of the 2017 program, this year the campaign will award $2 million in grants to historic sites on America’s Main Streets. Each of the 20 sites featured in the campaign played a role in the development of a diverse nation or the struggle for equal rights.

Partners in Preservation: Main Streets seeks to inspire long-term support from local citizens for sites on Main Street. Each local partner is receiving an initial grant of $20,000 to increase public awareness of the importance of these historic places and build grassroots support for their Main Street district. The public will decide which historic sites will receive a share of $2 million in preservation funding by voting for their favorite main streets through October 26 at, hosted by media partner National Geographic. Winners will be announced on October 29.

Add a daily reminder to your calendar to give Boston your support!

Click the download and it will be automatically added to your calendar.

Partners in Preservation: Main Streets Open House Weekend

 Roslindale Village Main Street will host an Open House Weekend event on October 20th for the public, highlighting the importance of Main Street preservation efforts in Boston. Roslindale Village Main Street is one of twenty diverse and historic Main Street districts across the country participating in the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets Open House Weekend.

As part of Roslindale Village Main Street’s Open House Weekend, residents and guests of Boston will not only learn about this important accessibility project, but attendees will also enjoy Roslindale Open Studios that same weekend ( The Roslindale Congregational Church, UCC is one of the group sites and will showcase 10 artists, live music, and the RCC Café.

Open House Weekend activities in Roslindale Village Main Street are one of many local events taking place nationwide on October 20th and 21st.

For more information and to vote daily for the Roslindale Congregational Church, UCC through October 26, visit


About Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS)

Roslindale Village Main Street is a community-driven nonprofit organization that seeks to promote Roslindale Village as an appealing destination and the dynamic center of our community.  RVMS brings together residents, business owners, property owners, and public agencies with a common stake in supporting a vibrant and healthy neighborhood business district and works closely with volunteers to strengthen the Village’s economic vitality, physical appearance, and unique local character. RVMS was established in 1985 as one of the first urban Main Street Programs in the nation. Learn more at and connect with us on, and


About Partners in Preservation

Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country.

Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.

About American Express

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.  Learn more at and connect with us on,, and

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cardsbusiness credit cardstravel servicesgift cardsprepaid cardsmerchant services,AccertifyInAuthcorporate cardbusiness travel, and corporate responsibility.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places:


About Main Street America

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About Shop Small®

Shop Small® is a nationwide movement to support small, independent businesses and call attention to the valuable and distinct contributions they make to their communities and the economy. Shop Small celebrates small businesses ranging from retail stores and restaurants to fitness studios and salons, and everything in between. The Shop Small movement was spurred by the widespread participation in Small Business Saturday®, a day founded in 2010 by American Express. This national holiday shopping tradition is dedicated to celebrating small businesses and driving more customers through their doors on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. November 24, 2018 marks the ninth annual Small Business Saturday, proudly backed by American Express. Learn more and connect with us on

Rozzie Roams: Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild with the Wetlands Task Force


The Rozzie Roams blog series is guest-written by RVMS Marketing Committee Volunteer Rebecca Perriello. Rebecca will be talking to residents who have a special connection to Roslindale’s green spaces.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing that the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild exists. Take a look at a map, and you’ll see a small patch of green nestled in the crook of Weld and Walter Streets. Venture in, and you’ll discover that the Wetlands provides a different kind of landscape—it is wilder and more untamed than the green spaces you usually encounter so close to the city. Though it feels very wild, the Wetlands are maintained and advocated for by a group of local volunteers. In addition to providing a home to many different animal and plant species, the 9.5 acres of forested wetland performs an important ecological role, serving as a catch basin for the area’s stormwater. We talked with a few members of the Wetlands Task Force—Inci Kaya, Riaz Ahmed, Deb Beatty Mel, Jim Taff, and Frank O’Brien—to learn more about this hidden gem.

Rebecca: What makes the Wetlands so special?

Inci: It’s a wild space in the middle of a highly developed city. That’s rare. It’s nature’s buffer to absorb extra water so you have a lower risk of flooding. It’s a haven for nature and wildlife. It’s really a peaceful, quiet walk. You see people there with their dogs; kids throw sticks in the water or try to poke their feet in the ice when it’s frozen in the winter. In the summer it’s pretty tropical and lush. If you’re looking to check out for half an hour—it’s a half-hour-long loop— you can really be in the middle of the city and not hear anything, just the sound of the trees.

Riaz: The fact that it’s a really natural feeling space, not really manicured in any way, except the walking path that volunteers have cared for so nicely. And it is a useful part of the city. It really does so much water control and acts as a sponge to just soak everything up.

I also appreciate that it’s a way kids get to experience something like that, and they have a lot of fun with it. It’s kind of the most fun in the winter when it’s frozen and they can take different paths across the ice. Then in the spring it’s muddy and they play “avoid the lava” games, going from rock to rock. It’s not the type of thing you see really anywhere else. The Arboretum is of course amazing, but it is quite manicured, well taken care of— wonderful for what it is, but this is one of the few opportunities to get into something wild, and it’s something we and probably many other people never knew was here. During the cleanup days we try to clear the area and make the entrances more obvious. It’s more obvious if you know to go there, but you have to know to look for it first.

RP: Could you tell me a little about the history of this space?

Frank: The current wetlands area is a low-point in the local area topography, with water draining from nearby higher elevations.

The natural land before development would have been New England forest with nearby hills and ponds formed by the receding glaciers approximately 18,000 years ago. This post-ice age process accounts for the kettle holes, such as Jamaica Pond and the countless rocks and boulders scattered in the landscape and now made into stone walls and other familiar features of the New England landscape.

Locally, the Roslindale Wetlands are a lowland area at approximately 100 feet above sea level, with the surrounding area rising to slightly higher elevations, such as 170 feet at Weld Hill and 270 at Peters Hill in the Arboretum. Thus, rain falling in the surrounding area will flow downhill to the locally lowest point.

These water patterns have been somewhat changed by the city’s street drainage systems, but the Roslindale Wetlands still receives rainwater from surrounding areas by the city’s own storm drain infrastructure, much the same as has been true for the past 18,000 years.

RP: How and when did the Task Force come about?

Jim: The Task Force arose circa 2004 out of a meeting of more than 100 neighbors to learn about and discuss the proposed multi-structure, multi-unit condo development at 104-108 Walter Street. People from all around the neighborhood joined in, and many hundreds to a thousand more supported the goals with contributions by signing petitions and calling representatives.

RP: Riaz mentioned cleanups. Could you tell me a bit about the efforts to care for the space?

JT: Cleanups were spring and fall yearly for many years. After the joint City–resident hacking out of large, impenetrable stretches of brambles, the removal of multiple dumpsters-worth of tires, large metal and wood pieces, and other bulk dumpings, plantings of dozens of native trees and shrubs, and the construction of the perimeter trail, cleanups and other work days have been randomly scheduled, as needed. The average is still probably one per year or one and a half sessions every two years. Paul Sutton, from the City of Boston’s Urban Wilds Initiative, often sets up and carries these out with the assistance of the Task Force and other professional groups or youth volunteers.

RP: What sort of wildlife can you see here?

Deb: The bird life in the wetlands is remarkable, and it has been cited as a “hotspot” for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s app, eBird. I’m not a very skilled bird watcher, but I can hear the songs of several species that I have come to recognize (cardinals, gray catbirds, and redwing blackbirds mainly) as well as woodpeckers. The hawks are impressive when they make their appearance.

JT: In addition to the birds Deb mentioned, there are also owls, orioles, migrating warblers, and wild turkeys. The usual small mammals include raccoons, squirrels, feral cats, possums, foxes, voles, and other field rodents. Somewhat more exotic creatures include deer, coyotes (now more common), and fisher cats. We used to have pheasants and salamanders. There is also a diverse scattering of wildflowers and naturalized garden perennials.

RP: Does the Task Force coordinate its efforts with any other groups?

IK: We reached out to Mass Audubon to see what kind of support they could give us. Assessing the soil and the plants, and giving us some kind of evaluation.

FO: The Wetlands could benefit from their expertise on such issues as non-native and invasive plant removal, habitat restoration, and public trail improvements. Based on this, the City and Wetlands Task Force have been working with them to define an initial project. The project would include a site inspection, mapping and natural resource inventory, priority action lists, and recommended next steps. The final work program has not been decided on, but we are hopeful that it will be underway before long and completed by the end of 2018.

RP: What are the benefits of coming to a space like the Wetlands?

IK: I think it quiets your mind, therefore it calms your body. When you notice your surroundings, your mind is calmed and cleansed. That carries over to a calm and clean body. This is a big backyard for anyone. You can walk around and notice different things. Our kids and the other kids that go there all seem to enjoy it year round. It always impresses me how much you know you might not want to go out on a 10 degree day, but they enjoy being out there.

RA: It’s definitely a peaceful place. That’s what I notice when I walk through it by myself. It helps me relax. It makes me feel not so much like I’m right in the middle of the city. To have something that wild in our neighborhood is very special.

RP: What do you like most about Roslindale? What is your favorite business in the square?

RA: I really love that it has a real town square. I love the little shops. I love that within a one-minute walk you have the Boston Cheese Cellar and Solera, with friendly people working there. And the market, along with the more old-school places like Tony’s, of course.

The walkability is great, and Roslindale really has a neighborhood feeling to it. On weekends I’ll walk down with the kids, because the square can be a destination in itself on a Saturday morning. I liked when Birch Street was closed to traffic and there were activities there and then there’s the Farmers Market itself. We’re looking forward to Distraction Brewing, and although I was sad to see Redd’s go, I’m excited to see whatever fills that space next.

IK: Definitely Birch Street Bistro and 753 South.

RP: How do you think we can encourage people to spend more time in Roslindale’s green spaces?

IK and RA: People could start by checking out websites to get a sense of these green spaces and what is being done to protect them. But more importantly we would encourage them to get out and visit the Arboretum in different seasons to note how the landscape changes from summer to winter, and how thoughtfully the trees are pruned and cared for. For a wilder experience, I would encourage them to come out for a nature walk in the Wetlands and Allandale Woods Urban Wild. There are probably other lovely hidden gems that we have yet to discover ourselves. 

We have to say that Roslindale residents value green spaces very much. Their sentiments are audible in neighborhood conversations, some of which are vibrant Facebook groups where they express genuine concern over how development can impact green spaces, exchange ideas about planting native plants and curtailing invasive species, and share the bounty of their vegetable gardens with neighbors regularly.

New Business Profile: DiPesa Violins

New Business Profile: DiPesa Violins

RVMS welcomes DiPesa Violins as the newest Roslindale Village business! The owner, Alan DiPesa, has been making and repairing violins for 10 years. He went to the North Bennet Street School, a premiere craft and trade school in the North End and started his business in Boston working in collaboration with another violin maker and also worked from home. Alan’s home also happens to be in Roslindale!
“I love Roslindale because — well, I happened into Roslindale because we couldn’t afford JP [where he used to live], and it ended up being a better fit for my personality, a little quieter and more neighborhoody and less fancy (in a good way).”
Alan repairs and makes violins, violas, and cellos, and his customers tend to be music teachers, professional musicians, and students. His business and workshop space is located in Unit 9 on the second floor of 4252 Washington Street (above PS Gourmet). He would (and so would we) love to see this second floor filled with other makers of any kind. He is excited to be part of the Roslindale business community since he lives in the neighborhood and loves Rozzie already.
 “My favorite Roslindale businesses — it’s a 50/50 tie between Craft Beer Cellar and Joanne Rossman. Both places have wonderful people that run them — both Bryan and Joanne are create an inviting atmosphere at both shops. I feel very welcomed at both of them.” 
Welcome, Alan!
DiPesa Violins
4252 Washington Street, Unit 9