It was bad enough when the Long Island Bridge shut and even more drug addicts began congregating in the area of Mass and Cass, Sue Sullivan said. But now, the area has become a haven for drug sellers and people quick to settle a beef with a knife or gun, the head of the Newmarket Business Association says.
Sullivan, local business owners and nearby residents from Roxbury and the South End gathered for a press conference today on Southampton Street, across from the city shelter and Atkinson Street, which have become a vortex for violence, they said. So far this year, Sullivan said, there have been two murders - one outside the shelter, one at Mass and Cass - along with ten stabbings and one shooting.
Sullivan and residents said the neighborhood, where Roxbury, Dorchester and the South End meet just north of the South Bay Mall, is becoming near unlivable - City Council candidate Domingos Darosa said residents now try to drive elsewhere to shop, rather than go to South Bay and residents have to keep close watch on where their children play to make sure they don't get stuck with a discarded needle.
Brian Maloney, owner of Middlesex Truck & Coach, a truck-repair garage on Gerard Street, said he's having growing trouble attracting help because nobody wants to work in the area.
The business owners and residents called on the city to provide short-term answers to drive down the violence and longer-term solutions that would include getting even more housing and help for the addicts. They called on Gov. Baker to get involved as well, in part by using part of the Shattuck Hospital campus in Jamaica Plain for new facilities.
And they said it's time for the city of Quincy to stop trying to halt reconstruction of the bridge to Long Island, so the city can re-open that facility - one that would be available to people who need help from across the Boston area, including Quincy.
Darosa posted video of the press conference.
As the press conference was winding down, police headed onto Southampton Street, where somebody who was very unsteady on his feet wandered from around the corner on Atkinson Street:
They guided him back to the sidewalk, where two EMTs soon arrived to try to help him.
>The view down Atkinson Street: