The Newmarket Business Association has submitted a “business improvement district” proposal for the struggling region of Mass and Cass, seeking to create a mechanism by which they can hire security guards, clean streets, and transport workers to. their work.
The NBA handed the hundreds of pages of the proposal to the city clerk on Friday. It now goes to city council for final approval, which would come after a public hearing.
“The goal is to improve the quality of life for those who work and live here,” Sue Sullivan, director of the Newmarket Business Association, told the Herald.
In Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs, local owners basically agree to the city levying additional property tax on them, but then decide what to do with it through a nonprofit organization. The city already has two, one around Downtown Crossing and the other on the Green Lane.
This one, which would start with an estimated budget of around $ 3.5 million, sits in the struggling part of the South End known as the Methadone Mile or Mass and Cass, an outdoor drug-consuming haven. and violence that has steadily worsened in the past. a few years. Now what some locals have described as a “tent city” of people living on the needle-lined streets has formed, as the number of people – and the number of violent incidents – has increased especially this year. .
The neighborhood is called Mass and Cass because of its proximity to the busy intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue, but the worst has moved to side streets, especially Atkinson Street. The 400 acres covered by the Newmarket BID extend southward to a former industrial estate that still has around 20,000 workers and involves the distribution and processing of much of the city’s food.
Sullivan said the plans include several different routes the BID would spend the money on. One of the most prominent is certainly an armed security force of two or three cars containing guards. Many companies already have their own private security, Sullivan said, and these guards would roam the area and be able to quickly respond to crimes on private property, where they could detain people until the cops show up.
Sullivan said they would likely be armed due to the “level of violence and armed individuals we see in the region today.”
The BID would also seek to spend money on street cleaning, as the downtown BID does, with vacuum cleaners and street workers. Other plans include shuttles for workers and programs to connect people on the streets with jobs.
The BID, which has the blessing of Acting Mayor Kim Janey, according to a press release, has been in the works for several years and ultimately resulted in the support of the owners of 65% of the region’s land and 85% of the landowners. the value of the land.
“Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point where it’s an embarrassment for the city,” John Fish, head of BID-based Suffolk Construction, told the Herald of conditions on the Mile. Supporting the BID, he said: “We need to be aligned with our goal and our strategy. “