I've always believed in the importance of nurturing and maintaining the closest possible relationships with the residents of our properties. (I don't call them "tenants" because I find the term dehumanizing.) I’m fortunate to be especially close with Adline Stallings, a leader of the tenant task force for the Mission Main Apartments, a public housing property we manage in Boston.
We surprised Adline on Saturday afternoon by naming a community park in the development in her honor. Working with our partners, Boston Housing Authority Administrator Bill McGonagle, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and, of course, Task Force Co-Chair Willie Pearl, who is Adline’s close friend, we managed to keep things a secret for months until just before the sign was unveiled.
Mission Main was a massive, desolate housing project with a notoriously bad reputation for decades. I first met Adline and Willie after the development received with one of the first federal HOPE VI program grants in the nation. We spent countless hours in intense discussions about how to reshape the community’s future.
In 1996, they told then-Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino: "We want Arthur Winn as our development partner." WinnCompanies went to work, transforming the development from 1,050 units of brick barracks-style housing into 535 units of mixed-income housing in a townhouse-style community supported by an array of ambitious, self-funded resident service programs. The effort won numerous industry awards and drew praise from then-HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, who in 1998 called the project “an example of the type of housing we would like to see all across the country.”
We rebuilt the community physically, but it was Adline and Willie and other task force members who built the values and behaviors that make Mission Main what it is today – a great community. Tough and demanding, Adline has always focused on what’s best for the residents. Her advocacy changed the entire community’s future. As I say in this brief video clip from Saturday’s event, Arthur Winn and WinnCompanies could not have asked for better partners.
I was happy to join with so many others to recognize the contribution that Adline has made to a partnership that is almost 20 years old, and just like her, still going strong.