Fenway CDC was formed in 1973 by a group of neighbors alarmed by a sweeping urban renewal plan that succeeded in demolishing 300 units of moderately priced housing before their lawsuit halted the plan. In the years that followed, Fenway CDC was instrumental in uncovering and halting an arson-for-profit ring. Having seen many of their homes turned into market-rate housing and a commercial plaza, or else burned to the ground, residents vowed to be vigilant about future planning and development and to play an active role in rebuilding the neighborhood themselves. That spirit of activism combined with resourcefulness, professional competence and strong partnerships have led to the following impressive accomplishments:
- Developed and preserved nearly 600 affordable homes, housing over 1,500 residents, including the first apartments in the nation set-aside for people with AIDS and HIV. To read about Fenway CDC's seven properties, click Fenway CDC Residential Properties.
- Organized residents to develop and promote a plan for the development of an “urban village” in the Fenway. The Urban Village Plan focuses on transforming the “strip” of gas stations, fast food huts, and parking lots along Boylston Street near Fenway Park into a neighborhood Main Street with 2,500 units of mixed-income housing, ground floor retail, a neighborhood school and a community center. This vision is taking shape as the development of new mixed-used projects is underway.
- Successfully resisted the construction of a new 45,000-seat baseball stadium into the residential area and developed an independent plan for renovating Fenway Park, from which the new Red Sox owners adopted, including the new Green Monster seats.
- Placed over 650 residents into jobs, and provided skill training, career counseling, job placement and career advancement services to hundreds of others through the Walk to Work program. Click here for more information on our Walk to Work program.
- Developed two playgrounds, one in the East Fens (Edgerly Road and Haviland Street) and one in the West Fens (Peterborough and Kilmarnock streets) for children and families through Fenway CDC’s Family Coalition with the Parks and Recreation Department. Developed afterschool space on Burbank Street that is home to MyTown, an afterschool program that trains teens to provide social history tours of Boston neighborhoods. Click here to access MyTown webpage.
- Stabilized the neighborhood through increased owner-occupancy. During the condo boom of the 1980s, 2,700 moderately priced Fenway apartments – out of 12,000 neighborhood-wide – were lost in a single sweeping condo conversion wave. A few years later, these same condos plummeted in value, triggering massive foreclosures followed by numerous bank failures. Fenway CDC found a silver lining to this crisis. The CDC increased owner-occupancy by 35% by training first-time buyers and advocating with lenders to provide mortgage products that financed purchases by owner occupants. This stabilized the neighborhood and gave hundreds of moderate-income renters a chance to own their own home.
- Fenway CDC’s Senior Task Force spearheaded a successful effort to prevent the displacement of more than 200 elders who faced eviction due to the expiration of rent control in 1996.
- Operated the award-winning Peterborough Senior Center which provided activities that enriched the lives of seniors and addressed the isolation that leads to depression, poor health habits, and lack of emotional and health-related support. Programs at the Center included a broad range of health and physical-activity-related services, arts and cultural activities, intergenerational programs, educational programs and opportunities for civic engagement.
- Fenway CDC is one of the selected group of CDCs in Massachusetts to be awarded the maximum community investment tax credits of $150,000 in recognition of the high impact of our work in revitalizing neighborhood and transforming lives.