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As Mass. and Cass crisis continues, landowners nearby band together to fund extra services

Newmarket business group files paperwork with the city to create a Business Improvement District to raise $3.5 million for security, street cleanup, shuttles

Sue Sullivan (left), executive director of the Newmarket Business Association, lead City Councilor and mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George on a tour of the area known as Mass. and Cass in the Newmarket district of Boston, where landowners are launching a special taxing district to fund extra security and street cleanup services.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Property owners in the Newmarket industrial zone ― where the city’s opioid and homelessness crisis has spiraled in recent months near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard ― could soon pay a fee to fund additional neighborhood services such as security, street cleaning, and shuttle service for employees.

The Newmarket Business Association on Friday filed papers with the city to create a Business Improvement District which would raise roughly $3.5 million from property owners across 400 acres in the area, which sits between the South End and Roxbury. Owners of roughly 65 percent of the property in the district — and about 85 percent of its taxable value — signed petitions supporting the move, well above the thresholds required to create a BID.


“We’re grateful for all the property owners who have supported this initiative and we are confident that the supplemental service we will provide will ensure a cleaner, safer environment for the hundreds of businesses that call Newmarket home,” said Michael Rothschild, a Newmarket property owner and president of the business group.

The effort to create a BID has been in the works for about two years, but it comes as the long-simmering challenges with homelessness and addiction centered around the intersection known as Mass. and Cass have erupted in recent months. Neighborhood businesses and institutions such as the Greater Boston Food Bank say they’re spending huge amount of money on extra security, and risk losing employees and customers who are worried about their safety in the neighborhood.

The private security and other services funded through the BID can help address that, said Newmarket Business Association Sue Sullivan, who was joined by Acting Mayor Kim Janey to announce the plan on Friday.

“We appreciate Mayor Janey’s support for our effort in Newmarket and look forward to using this tool to help the City improve the quality of life for all who live and do business here,” Sullivan said.


Next comes a public hearing and a vote by the City Council, which could happen this fall. Along with Janey, city councilors Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu — the two candidates to succeed her — have signaled their support.

Similar Business Improvement Districts already exist in Downtown Crossing and along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

Tim Logan can be reached at timothy.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.