Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation was founded in 1979 to help address the problems of economic disinvestment, unemployment, crime, community tensions, and the shortage of quality affordable housing in the Dorchester community. The Dorchester community still faces many of these problems along with new challenges as a result of gentrification and displacement. Dorchester Bay EDC’s mission is to build a “strong, thriving, and diverse community” while working closely with neighborhoods residents, businesses, and partners. Dorchester Bay EDC aims to build community through organizing, civic engagement, and leadership development. As part of the Let’s Get Healthy, Boston! project, Dorchester Bay EDC has become a priority neighborhood with 11 Healthy Community Champions. Dorchester Bay EDC has taken on three different work areas: Healthy Food and Beverages, Active Transit, and Smoke-Free Housing.
Within Healthy Food and Beverage, Dorchester Bay EDC has been able to establish two Fair Food sites within the first year. These sites are a resource for the Dorchester community to receive fresh produce, distributing over 50 thousand pounds of fresh produce in just the first year. During the second year, Dorchester Bay EDC was able to expand to a third a site in Quincy Heights where they were able to establish a partnership with Upham’s Corner Health Center which has allowed for the delivery of fresh produce to 31 of their chronically ill patients twice a month. Along with launching these Fair Food sites, Dorchester Bay EDC has also pledged four local pharmacies to sign onto the healthy beverage Rethink Your Drink Campaign. Lastly, Dorchester Bay EDC has built a brand new community garden on Magnolia Street in Collaboration with Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and Alternatives for Community and Environment. Dorchester Bay EDC hopes to finish the garden by 2017 in time for the new growing season. This new additional garden in the community will help increase access to healthy and fresh produce for the Dorchester community.
Dorchester Bay EDC also has had some great success with the Active Transit. Within the first year, Dorchester Bay EDC has hosted several events that has promoted an active lifestyle such as a Play Street event that brought out 267 people and “Light the Line” that brought out 468 people. Dorchester Bay EDC has also pioneered the concept of Hubway Satellite sites, one in Dudley Village every Tuesday and one in Quincy Heights every Friday. With the launch of these satellite sites, Dorchester EDC has helped sign families up for a subsidize $5 Hubway membership. This summer, Dorchester Bay has helped with the planning of ten new Hubway Stations in neighborhoods across Roxbury and North Dorchester. On August 16th, Dorchester Bay celebrated the grand opening of these stations with Mayor Martin J Walsh and community partners.
Dorchester Bay EDC has made some important changes within the community in the first two years of the Lets Get Healthy, Boston project and their hope is continue to enable to people to create social change while believing in the potential of community residents to grow and develop as leaders.