Gretchen Schneider, executive director of Community Design Resource Center (CDRC), told residents of the Shirley Avenue neighborhood to dream big Thursday night.
“Think big ideas. Now is the time to do so,” she said.
All the big ideas were for the public meeting surrounding Shirley Avenue. The City of Revere, Revere Neighborhood Developers and the CDRC are planning to re-design the entry way into the Shirley Avenue neighborhood from the Revere Beach MBTA station.
Currently, there is no direct path from the T station to the busy neighborhood. There is a chain link fence in between the two and to get to Shirley Avenue from the T stop, one must walk around the entire station.
“What kind of message do you think this presents to people?” Schneider asked the crowd at the Hyman Towers.
“Keep out,” many yelled back.
There is talk to also have a sign outside the station telling visitors what Shirley Avenue has to offer.
“We want people to know that this is a full, bustling business community,” City Planner Frank Stringi said. “We want to bring back some vitality.”
Stringi suggested that the sign show the different stores and restaurants Shirley Avenue contains.
While Shirley Avenue has had a troubled past dealing with crime in the area, many believe the neighborhood is headed in a positive direction.
“We have had our ups and downs like any community,” Ward 2 Councilor Ira Novoselsky said. “Right now, we are in an up and we want to stay up.”
Stringi said that the project is in the very formative stages and that they have to work with the MBTA to move forward.
“It’s a very long process. You have to get a license and everything. However, we are willing to do the work,” he said.
Residents were suggested to draw out what they would like happen to the entryway. They also had to answer three questions on sticky notes and put them on a giant map of the neighborhood hanging on the wall. The questions were what do you like about Shirley Avenue, what is unique about it and what do you want visitors to see or do in the neighborhood?
Some answered with “I love the beach” and “I love the diversity. People are so nice here.” Some suggestions were “I would like to see bike and water rentals,” and “The streets need to be cleaned up.”
– By Sara Brown / The Daily Item REVERE