Medical Center, Heal Thy Site
Location: 4199 Washington Sreet, Roslindale, MA (MAP)
Year(s) of Urban Fabric Restoration: 2006
The Photos: Coming up Washington Street toward Forest Hills and away from the corner of Washington/South Sreet at the north end of Roslindale Square.
The Story: This is a site very close to where I live in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, directly in what has been dubbed "Roslindale Village" for several years but most locals still refer to as "Roslindale Square." We moved here in 2000, long after the Rialto Theater, which used to be at this site, was torn down in the early 1970s. The theater was apparently a true fixture and a mainstay of the neighborhood. The barber shop where I get my hair cut by owner Bob Aliano is 2 doors down going back toward the square and its name, Rialto Barbershop, is all that's left of the old movie house. In any event, after the theater came down, the City put in a small municipal parking lot that was relatively underutilized. Earlier this decade, the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center received funding from a City-controlled trust, called the George Robert White Trust (you can see the name in white on the building's facade), to move out of their relatively cramped quarters in the Roslindale Municipal Building across Washington Street into an entirely new facility. The resulting building ably plugs what used to be a real hole in the square's northern street wall, providing space on the ground floor for an optometrist/eyewear store, and generally supporting the overall urban fabric.
[Added November 16, 2009] RTUF Sketch of the Restored Urban Fabric: As can be seen below, the medical center building actually fills street wall gaps on both the front (Washington Street) and rear (Taft Hill Terrace).