By Paxtyn Merten
As Stacey Smith leaned against a wood and metal fence in front of Fuentes Market, passing neighbors embraced her and called out to her from across the street. When you’ve been here as long as she has, she said, you get to know a lot of people. Smith, 51, is a food service worker at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Smith has lived in a townhouse in Mission Hill since 1996. Just before she moved in, though, it was a brick-and-mortar project — one of the earliest non-federally funded developments in Boston.
Smith said the worst part of the neighborhood is the crime. “I would like to see all the kids out here that are doing all this gang-banging and killing each other just stop. They just need to stop,” Smith said. “The apartments are nicer, people are nicer, but you still have those few. What they need is more police officers around because this is a mess around here.”
The answer to this, she said, is kids staying in school.
“I wish kids would get an education,” Smith said. “They got a lot of kids out here that just don’t go to school. There’s a lot of kids over here that graduated college and moved on with their life — that’s a positive thing — but I hope the ones growing up now stay in school and leave those video games alone.”
She said the best part of the neighborhood is the annual summer cookout held at a local park. The festival includes a petting zoo and food stands with goodies, like cotton candy. “People from all over come,” Smith said. “Everybody gets together and that’s one day you don’t have to worry about everybody fighting and arguing.”