#4 A Movie Theater

Coolidge Corner Theater, Kendall Square Cinema, Somerville Theater, Brattle Theater, Dedham Community Theater, Embassy Cinema in Watham - These are all smaller independent or community theaters just outside the city of Boston. With the closing of the Copley Place Cinemas a few years ago, our city no longer has a theater dedicated to independent film. Dorchester would be a perfect place to open a new small theater. With the diversity of culture and a growing art community, as well as the neighborhood's dedication to supporting local business, such a theater would thrive. Not only that, people would patronize local eateries and cafes before and after their shows, bringing even more into the neighborhood.

Two examples shine as great models: The first is the Pleasant Street Theater in Northampton, Mass. This two screen theater is not in a traditional movie-house, but instead opened in 1976 in a former shoe store. The second example comes from San Francisco and the 4 Star Theater on Clement Street. Its screen is not very large and they don't have the latest super-surround sound, but its focus on ethnic films (particularly Asian and Asian American films) makes it an asset. Both are no frill theaters that serve as a bedrock of their communities. (In full disclosure, Chris grew up in western Mass. and Erin in the Bay Area and so we have a lot of expeierence going to these two theaters and can vouch for their greatness...)

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#3 A World Class Zoo

We have a world class Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Aquarium, not to mention some of the best universities in the country. The Franklin Park Zoo (Boston's zoo - located in Dorchester) is a family-favorite for locals, and the zoo does a good job of reaching out to Boston students, providing free entry for field trips and programs for teen youths. However, there leaves much room for improvement. The Franklin Park Zoo should be world-class, as are the zoos of other major cities (think: Bronx Zoo, San Francisco Zoo, San Diego Zoo). Zoo New England (the parent organization of both the Franklin Park and Stone Zoo of Stoneham) should let go of the Stoneham Zoo and let it be privately run and focus its resources on the larger, urban zoo. This will increase the vision and funding for the Franklin Park Zoo making it a primary attraction of the entire New England Region. With increased attendance they could provide a free shuttle from Forest Hills (or if the MBTA ever brings the needed rapid transit to Blue Hill Ave. it would include a stop), making it easier to get there by public transportation, provide even more programs for kids, and expand their abilities to care for a wide range of animals.

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