By Riley Robinson
Chad Rosner, 36, first moved to Mission Hill in 2001 while studying at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Unlike most students, he stayed.
He’s spent years entwining himself in the neighborhood. Rosner joined Mission Hill Community Alliance about ten years ago and has served as its president since 2014. He works as a software engineer in Cambridge’s Alewife neighborhood.
“I’ve lived all of my adult life here,” Rosner said of Mission Hill.
The community alliance holds monthly meetings where residents discuss proposed development plans, or other local issues they feel are most pressing. Rosner said about 25 to 50 people attend each month.
“The last couple years, the city actually sends us developers and projects that need approval by the city, so like the zoning board of appeals or the [Boston Planning and Development Agency] will send projects to us to get our opinion on it,” he said. “They listen to it. Kinda. We’re one of the parts of the puzzle to them. We wish we were a little more important, but it’s definitely important for anything controversial.”
Rosner described new development projects as a sort of spatial identity crisis for the area.
“It’s kind of figuring out what Mission Hill wants to be as a neighborhood,” Rosner said. “We’re so torn between some of the projects around: some of the actual low-income projects, with the luxury rentals coming in, and then just general growth. It’s kind of [these] growing pains. The pain hits in traffic and price for residents. Boston needs more housing. But we want it to be done appropriately, with the knowledge of what the existing neighborhood is like.”
Despite the Mission Hill’s challenges, what keeps Rosner there are relationships with his neighbors. Well, that and his mortgage on a one-bedroom condo.
“I really started liking it more because I met local neighbors who had been here forever,” he said. “It’s just a small kind of town feeling. Sometimes it hard for me to get out of the area without talking to someone for like 10, 15 minutes.”