For a neighborhood to improve, people need to take responsibility for it — and when they do, a little civility and collaboration goes a long way. Consider the case of Ramsay Park in Roxbury, which last month was the subject of an intervention by the City of Boston and concerned citizens.
The park’s woes have long been evident in the empty “nips” — miniature liquor bottles — that loiterers have thrown about the park. A 1998 Globe story noted how “the bounty of nip liquor bottles sprinkled about, including in the tot lot, provides a daily reminder that all is not as it should be here.” This year, the litter remained a significant chore for public works crews, and unruly behavior from consumption of nips contributed to 40 arrests for public drinking this summer. In addition to stepping up police patrols, the city removed benches on Washington Street — making the park less appealing to drunken loiterers but also taking away an amenity that, under better circumstances, would enhance the park.