In Grand Opening Ceremony, Allston-Brighton Residents Celebrate a New Community Center

Opening a Community Center
Madeline R. Conway

Father Frank Glynn, pastor of St. Anthony's and chair of Charlesview’s Board of Directors, delivers opening remarks at the grand opening ceremony for the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center Sunday afternoon.

At a grand opening ceremony Sunday afternoon, members of the Allston-Brighton community celebrated the completion of the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center at the new Charlesview Residences apartment complex in Brighton.

The community center, built on land that was previously owned by Harvard, was developed as part of the new Charlesview Residences, a mixed-income housing development that will eventually include 340 units. The center will be open for meetings and special events for the duration of the summer and then open up at full operation in the fall. The center is open to both residents of the new apartments and neighbors in the greater Allston-Brighton community.

“As a longtime resident of Allston, I have to say, this is an exciting time for our neighborhood,” said Mary-Helen Black, Harvard’s senior associate director of community programming, in remarks to the gathered crowd of approximately 250 to 300 people. “The opportunities [the center] presents to knit together and enrich our community are limitless.”

Harvard-Allston Task Force member and Brighton resident John A. Bruno praised the center in an interview after the ceremony, emphasizing its availability to the greater community.

“To know that that we have a community project that is open to the entire community just gives us another asset that we can utilize to improve our quality of life. This is just a remarkable job, state of the art,” Bruno said.

Last month marked the opening of 240 apartment units at the Charlesview Residences. The apartments and the community center are built on land relinquished by Harvard in a 2007 land swap in exchange for nearby property adjacent to Harvard Business School that housed the old Charlesview Apartments complex.

Although neighborhood residents previously expressed mixed opinions of the land swap and Harvard’s development plans, officials from Harvard and the Boston city government hailed the new Charlesview Residences as a successful collaborative effort at the complex’s grand opening ceremony last month.

The Charlesview Residences was developed by Charlesview, Inc., a nonprofit founded by several religious organizations, and The Community Builders, Inc., a nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing. Josephine A. Fiorentino—the center’s namesake—was a founder of Charlesview, Inc.

—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at mconway@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.

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