INTRODUCTION Washington Park was begun on May 10, 1963 with groundbreaking for Academy Homes I on Columbus Avenue and was largely completed on October 26, 1971 when the doors opened to the new Roxbury District Court in the $4 million Civic Center at Dudley Square. The Roxbury Library branch within the civic center complex would open in the summer of 1978.
Not all of Washington Park Urban Renewal would be built and gaping holes of cleared land lay vacant for decades. Chief among the uncompleted projects were two schools and two neighborhood retail centers. The school sites became housing, one retail center site became a community garden and the second retail site was designated as housing in 2001. Construction of that housing- 49 town homes set in clusters and designed by Chia Ming Sze called Washington Commons - began in late winter of 2004 forty years after approval of the Washington Park Workable Program.
Ask about it today in 2005 and those who were there will say that Washington Park Urban Renewal was a failure; for the majority now living within its boundaries, the name will have no meaning. In its day, though, Washington Park Urban Renewal was very popular. Roxbury took up the challenge laid down in 1960 by Mayor John Collins, who with his BRA Director Edward Logue were the chief architects all of Boston’s urban renewal for 8 years.
“ Boston has all kinds of slums and all kinds of blight, It needs lots of slum clearance but it offers great opportunities for rehabilitation…. Is Boston willing to face the full extent of its slums and blight and support a bog, bold, fast moving program [?]
Will Boston have enough patience and courage to accept the hardships and disruption that are the inevitable part of rebuilding?”
(Speech before the Boston Society of Civil Engineers. October 16, 1960).
“The process is simple. It begins with an act of faith.”
Edward J Logue, BRA Director. 1962
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Edit