Ribbon Cutting for Roxbury Tenants of Harvard Community Center
On October 30, SBA proudly attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Community Center development for our long-term clients at Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH). The RTH Community Center will provide a brand-new 28,000-square-foot fitness, health, and wellness facility for the local Mission Park community.
Located on Vining Street in Boston’s Mission Hill district, the Community Center will allow RTH to expand its youth development and after-school programs as well as services for seniors. Complete with a full-size gymnasium and indoor basketball court, a fitness center, meeting rooms, youth lounge, computer laboratory, and teaching kitchen, the Community Center offers a local hub for recreation and wellness services in the 13-acre Mission Park neighborhood, which serves 1,500 residents.
RTH and the Mission Park development originated as a grassroots effort to maintain affordable residential housing for minority occupants. In the 1960s, Harvard University had purchased a parcel of land off Huntington Avenue, west of the Longwood Medical area, which they intended to develop by evicting current tenants and demolishing several buildings. Through the activist efforts of current residents and several Harvard students, the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard Association was formed in 1969 to preserve the neighborhood’s residences. RTH negotiated with Harvard to retain permanent, affordable housing as part of the university’s development efforts, and thus became one of the earliest grassroots tenant organizations. As a result, the Mission Park neighborhood now provides a dynamic housing and community environment for working professionals, families, elderly, and disabled residents of all races and cultures. Over the past 35 years, RTH has purchased and rehabilitated 962 units of low- and moderate-income housing, including the 775-unit Mission Park complex.
SBA began working with RTH in 2006 to develop the Community Center project as a safe, secure activity hub for this growing area. Working with RTH throughout their master planning process, SBA has helped the organization to strategically channel their available resources into a truly communal site that will offer the kinds of services, facilities, and respect that the community deserves. This Community Center project has also capitalized on our long-term partnership with RTH, which originated in the 1990s when SBA completed a range of smaller projects at Mission Park to help develop parking, playground, and lobby spaces.
Our ongoing teaming with RTH exemplifies SBA’s dedication to respectful, thoughtful design that demonstrates compassion and consideration for a variety of cultural and generational needs. Keeping RTH’s mission and their diverse users in mind, the Community Center was designed to provide a stimulating, active, and dynamic environment for youth members as well as a nurturing and therapeutic space for aging and disabled residents. We are excited to be part of Boston’s ongoing efforts to redevelop its unique corners of urban living.
The Center’s aim will be to cultivate a collective community of urban dwellers, where residents and community members can socialize, network, and engage with their local neighbors and friends. This overarching objective has successfully reinforced RTH’s legacy as a tenant organization that supports the under-represented and forges stronger communities.