BOSTON (CBS) – Nineteen-year-old Shayne Clinton says it’s a lesson he never could have picked up in a classroom: the thrill of surpassing a dream, and then watching it slip away. “We literally spent hours planning and strategizing our tactics and what we should do,” he said. “Now that we’re realizing it’s not happening, it’s disheartening.”
His hopes to have an urban community center built in a Jamaica Plain lot are going up in smoke. Years ago, Clinton and fellow Boston high schoolers teamed up with the Hyde Square Task Force, rallying at the State House and City Hall. Through some impressive detective-work, they found a corporate giant in Boston, the company that runs the TD Garden, had ignored part of its agreement with the state.
The Garden was then forced to make good on its decades-old promise to raise money for local community centers. The group planned a two-story Jackson Square Center that would have included an ice rink. “With the rec center we could decrease obesity, decrease crime rates,” said Clinton.
The group persuaded the TD Garden to give $1.65 million. The state pledged more than $6 million, and the city pitched in another $2 million. After a few years, the fund totaled about $17 million.
But the agency behind the project, Urban Edge, is now pulling the project. “When we looked at the cost of the recreational facility, most recently the cost came back at over $50 million,” said Urban Edge Director of Resource Development Michael Rousseau. “It’s really important to us to make sure that those funds stay here in Jackson Square, and that if we’re not building the recreational facility, at least we can know they’re going to a youth-serving agency and making sure that the families here in Jackson Square are served.”
Clinton says he’s not giving up the fight to invest that money into his neighborhood. “It definitely was not a waste of time,” he says. “We just need to sit down and strategize and find another tactic to get this thing back up and running again.”