ROXBURY — One of the most historic properties in the region is slated for a major change in use during the coming year and a workshop to seek community input on the changes has been scheduled. The historic Kirkside, long a retirement or rest home for seniors will be re-purposed to a more modern use by the MARK Project, As the group moves toward creating a new and purposeful use for the historic Kirkside Mansion, the public is invited to join an allday workshop on Monday, Jan. 20, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Roxury Arts Center, 5025 Vega Mountain Rd. Roxbury.
From its origins as a summer house for Helen Gould, through its life as a retirement community for ministers, to the community based senior living facility and the adjacent park, the Kirkside estate has held the heart and soul of Roxbury in a very unique and particular way. Changes in both the national and the local economies, as well as societal changes in the way people age gradually made it impossible to continue the Kirkside use as a home for seniors, well or ill. The facility closed to the public and has remained mostly vacant in recent years.
With the generosity of the Board of Kirkside of Roxbury Inc. who came to the MARK Project to help find a new future for the Mansion, the community has an extraordinary opportunity to connect this grand home to the community’s resources and use it to bring life to the Roxbury Main Street as it serves as a regional purpose and benefit.
Tentative plans call for transformation of Kirkside into a working hotel and restaurant, driven and operated by young hospitality and business professionals as they move from learning environments to work environments. All community stake holders who have any interest or concern about the property are encouraged to make their ideas and voices heard by participating in the workshop process.
“Workshop attendees will be asked to dig deep into the essence of what makes this place unique and help dream this project into being,” says Peg Ellsworth, MARK Project Executive Director. “We are inviting all our stakeholders: community co-creators, investors, users, and even the earth itself, to help bring Kirkside to life and discover a “Third Place;” a place where all can gather beyond home or work. A place that celebrates the past, present, and the future of what this project means to Roxbury and the region.”
This workshop is far more than a public information session. It is an opportunity to engage with friends, neighbors, and community members at large in an exploration of Roxbury’s capacity, an embrace of its cultural and natural ecosystems, and a recognition of opportunities to create a sustainable economy that can serve as a model for other communities around the nation.
The Workshop will be facilitated by John Boecker, an internationally recognized expert in integrative design and regenerative planning.
A light breakfast, lunch and late afternoon social hour will be provided. Space is limited so reservations to attend are required. To reserve a seat, please email Rieley@markproject.org or contact the MARK office at 845 586 3500.