In Mattapan, new-and-improved Almont Park gets security camera

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Mattapan’s Almont Park has another new amenity this summer— a security camera aimed at helping the already vastly-improved city park become even more of a safe haven. The park— home to the Mattapan Patriots Pop Warner program, which kicks off its season this weekend— has seen more than $4 million in renovations over the last five years, capped off with a well-kept football and soccer field.

The park also has a new tot lot basketball and tennis court, exercise equipment, and a garden. A baseball and cricket field is also now ready for use. This summer, the park is packed with activities throughout the day, including free tennis lessons, chess and checkers, yoga, and a bible class.

Earl Faulk, a Mattapan resident and a long-time advocate for the park, remembers when it was derided as a “goose field.” Now, it’s a “jewel in the rough.”

“We have worked hard and painlessly with the City to making sure that we have our own park and everything that we wanted” said Faulk. “The Mattapan Patriots used to go to Hyde Park and use their field, but it wasn’t our home.”

Donald Caisey, president of Mattapan Patriots, said the finished product “is everything everyone expected it to be and more.”

Last Friday, the city of Boston activated a security camera trained on the field and playground areas that Faulk hopes will tighten security at the park.

“Sometimes what you have, I call “player haters,’” said Faulk. “ You have people that come in, they hate seeing something nice when it’s not in their neighborhood.”

“We only have one camera for now, but one is better than nothing. It’s a new way to fight crime if you have cameras,” he said.

Caisey agreed. “It was much needed,” he said, adding that everyone looks out for one another at Almont Park, but the camera will bring more safety for youth and all others.

“This was a request of the community group during the construction process” said Ryan Woods, Director of External Affairs at the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. “The Boston Parks Department paid to have electricity brought to the pole that the camera is installed in.

The Boston Police paid for the camera and did the installation and they will be the ones monitoring the footage that is taken.”

“There are features that benefit for everyone” said Woods.

This Saturday at Almont Park, the Mattapan Patriots will host a cookout and sign-up for football players and cheerleaders from 12 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Then Monday, August 1 will be the start of their practice season, beginning at 5 p.m.