Touting the gains it has made since first launching its neighborhood revitalization efforts 5 years ago, the Mother Brook Community Group (MBCG) will celebrate its most recent accomplishments Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the very location that has figured so prominently in its plans – the old Avery School.
The group’s annual meeting, which is open to the public, starting with a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium, will feature a formal presentation of the plans to transform the former school into the new Mother Brook Arts and Community Center starting in March, as well as an update on other improvements in the neighborhood, and the association’s plans and goals for the new year.
Creative re-use of the former school facility on High Street has been a top priority of the neighborhood association since the school re-located to the new Avery School on Pottery Lane last April and the facility became vacant. MBCG, which helped to win approval for the new center by the Board of Selectmen, is confident it will provide an anchor around which to continue re-building the economy of the neighborhoods abutting the historic waterway, according to MBCG Chair Dan Hart.
“It is a significant investment by the town in the future of East Dedham,” Hart said. “Our hope is that, along with the new school, the new playground that was installed by Parks and Rec. at Condon Park and the new park we are helping to build on Mill Pond, the center will provide a further incentive for homeowners and merchants to invest and re-invest in our neighborhoods.”
The improvements are helping to create a new image of East Dedham, Hart added, one that is in keeping with the artistic and historical roots of the neighborhood, the original home of world-renowned Dedham Pottery. It is with that in mind that the organization’s theme for this year’s annual meeting is, “Renaissance and Rebirth: the ‘new’ East Dedham,” he said.
In addition to opening remarks by Rep, Paul McMurtry, an early and ardent MBCG supporter, and the floor plans and details of the new arts and community center by the MBACC board and staff, the meeting agenda will also feature an update on the new Mill Pond Park being created by the group in cooperation with the Dedham Conservation Commission and the Environment Department, a special recognition of Gints Grinsberg, the Dedham artist who created the iconic fish sculpture that already adorns the park; the bestowing of the organization’s annual ‘Good Neighbor’ awards on local residents, merchants and public officials; a discussion with Police Chief Michael D’Entremont about public safety and traffic concerns; a brief overview by Town planners of a plan to create a new arts overlay zoning district in Dedham and East Dedham; and, looking towards the future, an update by attorney Peter Zahka of a proposal by the owner of East Dedham Plaza to redevelop the property into a mixed use development.
“We want to extend a special invitation to all of our friends and neighbors to join us at our annual meeting … but especially those from the neighborhoods abutting old Avery, who have waited so patiently for our plans there to finally come to fruition,” Hart said.
The annual meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the old Avery School gymnasium, 123 High St. in Dedham, with parking and entrance at the side of the building. A reception in celebration of the new arts and community center there will start at 6:30 p.m., with the general meeting to follow at 7 p.m.