The historic St. Elizabeths Center building on Elliot St is a 19th century Greek Revival style house owned by the Mary Immaculate church on Elliot St. In recent years it has been vacant and its fallen into serious disrepair.
The property has been on the market recently and there’s been lots of worries in the neighborhood that it would get condo-ized, knocked down, or otherwise broken up or destroyed.
At tonight’s Upper Falls Area Council meeting, local resident Christopher Osborne turned up and announced his family’s plans for the building. He and his sister Karen have an agreement to purchase of the building from the Catholic Church. They’ve got a wonderful plan to set up a non-profit to run the property and use the first and second floor as a community center for Upper Falls. They’ve got plans for the top floor and the basement being used for some combination of residential or commercial rental to fund the center on an ongoing basis.
The Osborne family is very well known here in Upper Falls. Karen is a lifelong Upper Falls booster who funds and works on all sorts of neighborhood projects – most notably the annual summertime neighborhood cookout/concert in Hemlock Gorge. Local hero Christopher Osborne is one of the founders and the master chef of the annual Feast of the Falls. Like his sister, Christopher is another longtime pillar of the neighborhood.
They’ve got a long road ahead of them with all the various regulatory, zoning, etc challenges but the train has just left the station on this great neighborhood project and from what I heard, the neighborhood Area Council was thrilled at the news tonight.
Over the last year, our Newton Nomadic Theater has performed at the Waban Library Center, the Auburndale Community Library and the Hyde Center. Seeing each of these community centers in action made me totally envious of those neighborhoods. Each of those institutions function as the heart of their neighborhoods – with all sorts of groups and activities coming and going on a day to day basis. It’s something I sorely missed here in Upper Falls.
I’m thrilled to hear that we may have something comparable here in Upper Falls thanks to the Osborne family.