At Monday night’s Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (JPNA) meeting, former longtime JPNA Co-Chair Renee Scalfani was honored by Mayor Martin Walsh, City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Rep. Adrian Madaro and the JPNA board.
Walsh, along with JPNA Chair Mary Cole, presented Scalfani, one of the longest continuously serving members of any East Boston community group board, with a golden gavel.
“I just want to honor Renee (Scalfani) who served as co-chair of the JPNA for the past 10 years,” said Walsh. “It is with great appreciation that we honor someone with her heart and soul who was truly the “Mayor” of Jeffries Point.”
As the neighborhood’s notable community groups like JPNA and Orient Heights have been taken over by new blood and newer community groups like Harbor View have emerged, Scalfani remained a fixture in Eastie’s community process for as long as anyone can remember.
However, last year Scalfani announced she would be stepping down from the board she served with passion, distinction and dedication for many years.
“It is with great sadness that I share with everyone that I decided to resign from Co Chair of the JPNA board,” said Scalfani at the time. “I was on the board many years and truly love our neighborhood. I feel that since I can’t give 100 percent of myself that it is best to leave and have my seat filled by someone with the same heart, dedication and love…someone who can give what I couldn’t.”
Scalfani said she had the pleasure of working with a great team of board members and truly enjoyed working with state and city officials, as well as the Boston Police to tackle the issues facing Jeffries Point and the neighborhood as a whole.
“Being on the board brought great joy to my heart and loved talking and meeting neighbors,” she said. “But this is what’s best.”
While most community meetings are dominated these days by development projects and zoning issues, Scalfani emerged as an advocate for quality of life issues.
Each month Scalfani would bring issues she and her neighbors would discuss to the JPNA meetings. Issue like park cleanliness, speeding cars, crime, public drinking, and other issues were always brought to the forefront by Scalfani during her tenure. She made the police that attended each monthly meeting aware of problem properties, illegally parked cars, unsafe traffic issues and other issues that would or could affect the quality of life for residents.
“Renee (Scalfani) made sure that we not only had a voice as a community but that we truly took ownership and pride in the community,” said City Councilor Edwards. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Renee and she did not come with problems she came with solutions for the neighborhood and how we can all come together. What I learned from her leadership is trust in the (community) process and trust in our voice. She ensured that Jeffries Point was well represented, and that everyone’s voice was heard. She levevated a lot of folks in this community.”