The restoration of Doyle Playground on River Street has been prominent news lately within the community. In this edition of HOHP we’re highlighting two key leaders in this project which is fundraising now through June 6, 2018 with donations being matched by Mass Development. You can make a donation here.
How long have you lived in Hyde Park and what do you do?
Lawrence: I am a freelance graphic designer and have lived in Hyde Park since birth, minus 3 years in Jacksonville, Florida.
Arielle: I have lived in Hyde Park for almost 30 years. I was born and raised in the same house, and only left for college. I do a whole host of things, but what’s most important to me is that I am a singer/songwriter, and YouTuber.
How did the Doyle Playground project come about and how are you involved?
Arielle: Before POHWER (People of Hyde Park Wanting Equal Representation) became what it is today, SWBCDC (Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation) had a community clean up at Doyle. When talking to the neighbors that came out to participate, they learned the concern for that lack of care at the location. This is when we chose as a group of community members to find out how we could work with the state to renovate the space. As a lead member of the project, I have been a part of meetings with DCR to learn what could be accomplished at Doyle, and also organized community visioning days.
Lawrence: I wasn’t able to go [to the clean up day], but I went to the second meeting before the group was named POHWER and have been involved ever since.
How do you work together?
Arielle: Lawrence and I are both members of POHWER and leaders in the effort to restore Doyle. Lawrence is also family, so we both know what Doyle used to be from playing there as kids, and are excited for what it will become.
What excites you most about Doyle Playground?
Lawrence: The chance to see a playground that I used to use as a child, that was neglected, find new life is pretty exciting.
Arielle: I have lived next to Doyle my entire life. I watched it turn from a place I used to play in to an abandoned dump. It was sad to me because it matched how I felt about living here, but to now be a part of the restoration of the space gives me hope that there is new life being poured into Hyde Park.
How can your neighbors help with the project?
Any neighbor is welcome to come to our POHWER meetings to learn more on how they can directly help with Doyle (follow the Facebook page to stay informed). The meetings are held every 4th Thursday of the month at 11 Fairmount Ave (in the SWBCDC office). If they do not want to directly be involved, they can donate to the cause through our Patronicity campaign. This project is not just about us or POHWER. Doyle belongs to every person that lives in Hyde park and we want it to be a positive reflection of that.
Beyond Doyle Playground, are there other future projects that you’re involved with?
Lawrence: The POHWER group and I are a part of a few projects right now, some of which are focused on affordable housing, and getting the Fairmount commuter rail line to run more reliably.
Arielle: Yes! But to find out more, I'd suggest neighbors come to our meetings. I would not do any justice talking about all of the great things going on here. Truthfully though, I have learned while being a part of POHWER that the people are truly the heartbeat of the community; and without our voices, there is no life. Doyle is just a reminder of this. There is a place for every voice to be heard in Hyde Park, and we want everyone to see this.
Nominate yourself or someone in the community for a future Humans of Hyde Park story; nominees can remain anonymous in the story or use their first name only if they prefer: https://goo.gl/forms/qgTj1Rh8t2bSbh973.
Quiana first came to Boston as a college student, graduating from Wellesley College in 2002 and returned in 2016 to live in Hyde Park with her husband and two children.