WHNA Spring Meeting Minutes

  • 4/24/2019, 6:30pm at the Wollaston Elementary School

  • 6:35pm: Wally Hubley begins meeting and introduces agenda

    • Update on Cleaner Greener

    • Saturday, May 4th - Meet at Safford Park at 9am

    • Traditionally had 2 groups: one at Safford Park, one at Forbes Park

    • Trash cleanup, mulch spread

    • Then we meet up at Pageant Field after at noon

    • Bob will send out a reminder early next week

    • Kathy will pick up materials/tools ahead of time

    • If you RSVP with your shirt size we will try to pick up a free shirt for you the day before.

  • Update on Saturday in the Park

    • Approved by Parks Board unanimously

    • Next step in coming weeks: getting alcohol license

    • [Wally then went through PPT presentation that he gave to the Parks Board]

    • Brian Enos: Do we need police detail?

      • Wally: Yes, will reach out

    • B.E.: Optional donations to support event?

  • Wally: looking into sponsors + we will have proceeds from beer trucks

  • Bob LaRocca: Will we be marketing/advertising through both social and signage?

    • Wally: Yes

  • Update on Porchfest

    • Running similar to last year; only change: drawing a tighter geographic box around possible host porches -- make it more concentrated

    • BL: Harder to find new porches?

      • Wally: No

    • Registration update: 64 bands, 46 porches in Merrymount, Squantum, Wollaston Hill

  • Wally then ran through remaining events for the year

    • What else do we want to prioritize for the year?

    • Development is a big topic (whether too much or not enough)

    • Possibly have Mayor’s Office come to explain Urban Renewal District

    • Explain new parking enforcement

    • Explain new recycling requirements

    • Explain loss of trees

    • In previous years, “gas leaks” was on the agenda.

  • 7:25pm: Meeting Adjourn

Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association Winter Meeting

Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association Winter Meeting

On January 30th the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association held its quarterly meeting at the Wollaston Elementary School to review their 2019 event calendar, hear a legislative update from State Senator John Keenan, and a local Ward 3 update from Ward 3 Council member Ian Cain, and hear from Community Police Officer Timothy Simmons about local issues.

Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association Meeting

On March 14th meeting the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association held its quarterly meeting at the Wollaston Elementary School to review their 2016 event calendar, elect new officers, hear a legislative update from State Senator John Keenan, and a local Ward 3 update from newly elected Ward 3 Council member Ian Cain.

The meeting opened with a presentation of the 2016 event calendar, featuring a number of civic and social events.  

  • Saturday May 7th, 9am to 11am the association will participate in the Cleaner Greener Quincy Day run by the City of Quincy, sponsoring both Safford Park at 166 Beale St and Forbes Hill Park near the Furnace Brook Golf Club.

  • Saturday June 18th 1pm to 5pm the association, partnering with Ward 3 City Councilor Ian Cain and Discovery Quincy, will be starting PorchFest Quincy, a free neighborhood music festival open to the public.  Come hear music of all styles walking the neighborhood enjoying a summer day meeting and friends.  Find out more or get involved, visit www.PorchFestQuincy.org.

  • Sunday July 10th, noon - 3pm join your neighbors for a potluck cookout with music and activities for the family.

  • Friday August 19th, 7pm - 9pm the association will host a free Family Movie Night at Safford Park.  Movie move will be announced soon.  Bring some lawn-chairs and join us for this back-to-school event!

  • Please visit the website for details on these and other events - www.WollastonHill.com

The association voted in Bryan Enos as Treasurer for the association.  The association is very happy to have Mr. Enos onboard to help out.  Mr. Enos has a long standing history of community contribution through the Wollaston Elementary School PTO and the Boy Scouts of America.

State Senator John Keenan provided a legislative update on a number of topics, including the state budget, the process for which is in full swing.  The budget process and timeline was explained, and Senator Keenan outlined a few topics at hand, including the cap on Charter Schools, state college funding, mental health, substance abuse, and legislation pertaining to Uber & taxi cabs.  Senator Keenan also addressed a topic of discussion from previous association meeting pertaining the perceived need for a housing court resource for Norfolk County.  This housing count resource would help manage more specialized housing related legal issues currently handled in the general court.  For more information about these topics please contact Senator Keenan’s office at http://www.senatorjohnkeenan.com.

Ward 3 City Councilor Ian Cain addressed the association for the first time as City Councilor, where he explained the function and process of his role in on the City council.  Councilor Cain also identified a number of topics before the city council such as FEMA maps, pedestrian safety, Quincy Hospital, and others.  Councilor Cain also described the council role in the permitting process, identifying both a proposed new hotel at the former site of Work, Inc. and a proposed multi-unit building on 151 Granite St.  The next Quincy City Council meeting is on March 21st, 2016.  For more information about these topics please contact Councilor Ian Cain at www.iancain.org.

Safford Park Community Preservation Act Project

Safford Park view from Winthrop Avenue, facing west.

In 2013 the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association (WHNA) submitted an application for Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for the preservation of a neighborhood park known as Safford Park.  The association was awarded funding to preserve the passive nature of the park, and provide for improvements that enhance its use by the community for leisure, activities, and community assembly.  With strong community input, a plan evolved and the park was renovated over the course of a two year project and was reopened to the community in the summer of 2015.

Wollaston Elementary School at what is now Safford Park.

Safford Park (49,236 SF) is owned and maintained by the City of Quincy, located at 166 Beale St, between Winthrop and Lincoln Avenues, gifted to the City by Nathaniel F. Safford.  Located in the Wollaston Hill and Forbes Hill Neighborhoods, collectively known as Wollaston Heights, from 1873 to 1913 Safford Park served as the location of the Wollaston Elementary School until the present school replaced it diagonally across the street.

On January 7th, 2013 the association submitted their proposal to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) requesting $177,000 for a full park renovation and the construction of a presentation venue, initially contemplated as a gazebo for performance and presentations.  

The goals of the proposal were as follows:

  • Restoration of this neighborhood park for use in community assembly: entertainment (i.e. Arts in the Park), music performance, and leisure activities.

  • Improvement of park for use in ceremonies and decorative lighting, such as the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting started by then Councilor Kevin Coughlin in the early years of his tenure as City Councilor.

  • Address safety and accessibility issues resulting from broken/missing stairs and railings. 

  • Additional plantings plantings/shrubs to enhance its use

  • Preserve the simplistic beauty and open-space look and feel.

On March 14th, 2013 Walter Hubley, then Vice President of the WHNA, presented the CPA proposal to the Community Preservation Committee.  The proposal was well received by the Community Preservation Committee and a recommendation for funding of $143,000 was put forth to Mayor Thomas Koch and the City Council for approval of the park renovation, less the cost of the presentation venue.  Funding was approved on June 3rd, 2013 for the project and funds to be managed by the Quincy Parks and Forestry Department, in coordination with the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association.  The Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association, jointly with the Quincy Parks Department, worked closely with Skinner Overlook Landscape & Design to design a plan for this park preservation work.  With strong community input from neighbors, landscape architect Andrew McGee evolved a plan to preserve the passive nature of the park, enhance its present day use, and highlight its existing qualities.  

Neighborhood association meeting, reviewing the park plans.

The design process involved on-site observation of the park and its present use by the neighborhood.  Special attention was paid to ensure the new design would accommodate how the park was already used by the community, while working to accomplish the goals of the project.  The design process also includes a number of plan iterations and opportunities for neighbors to provide input into the plans, and express any concerns. 

On June 13, 2013 Walter Hubley of the WHNA and then Ward 3 Quincy City Council member Kevin Coughlin met with the Wollaston Garden Club to present preliminary plans for the park to seek the club’s input and potential participation on the project.  The club provided some preliminary input to the project and were excited about potentially participating with entrance way plantings at the park, pending final design and site study.  The club also presented Mr. Hubley with a scrapbook they had found in their club records containing photos and clippings from a project the club had worked on with the city on a 1962-64 beautification project their members had worked on at Safford Park with the City.

1963 Scapbook from the Wollaston Garden Club project at Safford Park.

Throughout late 2013 and early 2014 preparations began for the Safford Park Preservation Project, starting with the clearing of some diseased trees and invasive species.  Sandblasting and repointing of the granite retaining wall was performed.  

Grading of the entire park land surface was performed to help with erosion, water pooling issues, and to create a better surface for the occasional soccer practice or football game by neighborhood children.  A large granite and cement monument platform in the center of the park, formerly home to a World War I monument featuring a Howitzer Cannon, was removed to further open up the center of the park for open space.   Removed for metal during World War II, the Howitzer was never replaced, leaving an empty platform for many years.

Clara Yeomans tree planed by then Councilor Kevin Coughlin in memory of Clara's years of service to her community. (~8 years prior to the CPA project)

The old broken and weathered stairs and walkways were replaced.  A stone structure at the upper landing of the bottom stairs was constructed to provide for a stage for presentation use at the park.  Installation of electrical facilities to illuminate the granite retaining wall, christmas lights on Clara’s’ tree - planted by former Councilor Kevin Coughlin in memory of Clara Yoemans, a long-time neighbor and community activist.  The electrical facilities also power electrical outlets to provide power for a number of applications at the park, including PA systems for music and performance.  Shrubs were planted atop the granite retaining wall and along bordering properties, to include Mountain Laurel and Winter Berry.  The entire surface of the park was seeded for new grass in the fall of 2014.  Five beautiful new trees were planted to provide a blend of seasonal colors and a next generation of shade cover for future generations.  New trees include Red Maple, American Elm “Valley Forge,” and Bi-color Oak.

Four beautiful rustic stone-faced granite benches were donate by long-time neighbors George and Sandra Burke, Councilor Kevin Coughlin and Family, the Hubley Family, and the Meade Family.  Two of the granite benches were placed on the stair landing, to provide for seating overlooking the park, and two of the benches were placed in shady areas along the two paths.  

The Wollaston Garden Club took on the important task of beautifying the North West corner of the park over the course of 2015.  Civic Beautification Chairs Jo Costello, Ann Foresman and Kathleen Ceurvels lead the effort at Safford Park, and members Carol Fischer, Ruth Griffin, and others from the club assisting.  After a study of the area and design work, the club repurposed some unused granite blocks to frame in a multi seasonal garden area at the corner of the park.  The Park and Forestry Department leveled the location, placed the granite blocks in place, and delivered the compost to the location at the location and the Wollaston Garden Club began their work.  Pink Knockout Ross line the back row, and ground cover was planted in the front corner.  Grasses will be planed in the middle in the spring of 2016 as the cold weather subsides.  Water facilities were installed for garden irrigation.

Safford Park was reopened on August 31st, 2015 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a family movie night at the park.  Neighbors attended to celebrate the park’s reopening to the neighborhood.  Mayor Thomas Koch praised the project as a community effort, including members of the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association and the City’s Park and Forestry Department, with contributions from the Wollaston Garden Club.

Black Swallow-Wort Pods

By Pat Artis, Wollaston Garden Club

Throughout the years, members of the Wollaston Garden Club and other city gardeners have been in a private war to eliminate invasive plants from their gardens. These plants threaten bird and butterfly populations and other native plant communities, and cost city governments millions of dollars in plant loss and for removal. This summer, along with the usual suspects like Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Knotweed, and Garlic Mustard, local gardeners are dealing with a bumper crop of Black Swallow-wort.  

Black Swallow-wort (Cynanchum nigrum), also called “the dog strangling vine” can be found in well-maintained gardens, climbing chain-link fences, or mounding over border vegetation in all parts of Quincy. It is really difficult to weed out completely because its white, fleshing tentacles break off easily, but leave an extensive root system untouched. 

The Object of the club shall be to promote and encourage the love of gardening and the study of horticulture, floral and landscape design: To aid in the protection and conservation of our environment and to continue civic beautification in the City of Quincy. - Wollaston Garden Club Mission

However, by extremely persistent weeding, and digging out the root rhizome, the gardener can eventually be successful. Gardeners should wear gloves when pulling pods or digging up weeds to avoid potential skin irritation. Black swallow-wort weeds should not be thrown into a compost pile or put into yard-waste bags or barrels, but placed in tied plastic bags and put in the trash for incineration; their stoloniferous roots will re-sprout and seeds will not be destroyed in the composting process. Citizens are reminded to compost all other yard waste in the regular yard waste collections. For more information about black swallow-wort go to http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/cyclo1.htm.

According to Quincy resident, Kathy Wagner, who gave out information about the invasive at the main branch of the Thomas Crane Library on August 24th; “Many local gardeners have no idea what they are dealing with when they first find it in their gardens; its shiny green leaves come in pairs and it even sports a small purple star-shaped flower in July. Over a few seasons they discover it has taken over the garden, quickly winding around fences and shrubs, strangling out other plant species and eventually displacing them permanently. At this time of year it has green pods, green-bean like in appearance; the pods are beginning to open now and the winds will soon release from each pod hundreds of seeds, beginning a whole new generation of plants.” 

Citizens should remove the green seed pods now, before they turn brown, preventing the next generation from sprouting. The City of Cambridge has organized neighborhood “Pod Patrols” to rid their community of this invasive weed, with the slogan “Spread the Word…Not the Weed,” Diane Hill, Youth Chair of the Wollaston Garden Club recently led some Lincoln-Hancock students on a “pod patrol” to collect pods from along a fence in their school yard. Some enterprising Horticulture students from Quincy High School, like Alan Tran, at atranreveolver@gmail.com have been working, for a fee, as gardener’s helpers, removing the pervasive “dog-strangler” weeds from private gardens. Tran says to really get rid of the invasive plant “you have to dig deep, remove the primary root, and keep weeding until it’s gone.”

Pat Artis is a past president of Wollaston Garden Club, trained in identification of MA Invasive Species, and a Gardening Consultant of the National Garden Clubs, Inc.  This article originally appeared in the Quincy Sun.

Councilor Coughlin's Final Christmas Tree Lighting

Several hundred neighbors gathered at the newly renovated Safford Park to join Councilor Kevin Coughlin in his final Christmas Tree Lighting, a tradition he stared several years ago.  

The event started off with Quincy Public School Choir singers leading the crown in song - a selection of Christmas carols.

A visit from Santa Clause arriving on Engine 4 from the Wollaston fire station, welcomed by a crowd of excited children.  Santa greeted the children, passing out candy canes, then making his way to the podium where he ceremoniously illuminate Clara Yeomans's tree for the Christmas season.

After the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, the crowd joined together at the Wollaston Elementary School for hot chocolate and cookies.  Joining neighbors at the event were Mayor Thomas Koch, Representative Tackey Chan, and School Committee Vice Chair Kathryn Hubley. 

A wonderful tradition supported by Councilor Coughlin, Mayor Koch, Quincy Fire Department, Quincy Police Department, Quincy Parks Department, the Wollaston PTO, and the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association.