In the early 1970s, Codman Square was burning down. Block after desolate block had the charred remains of people’s homes. Arson-for-profit schemes proliferated.
Many of the residents who had raised families in those cramped three-deckers fled the neighborhood. Bill Walczak, newly married, moved in and later helped start a revival.
“There was a lot of work to do back then,’’ recalled the Rev. Dr. Bill Loesch, a former Boston City Hospital chaplain who met Walczak when they were both devoted to rebuilding Codman Square. “And the odds were against us.”
Over the next four decades, Walczak and a diverse group of residents helped to turn the neighborhood into a busy commercial center, with a sprawling health center that Walczak cofounded as its anchor.
“Bill saw Codman Square as a place where something needed to be done,’’ said a close friend, Candice Gartley, who still lives in the neighborhood.
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