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Massachusetts recreation center closed to house illegal aliens will reopen to public with upgrades after community uproar
Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts recreation center closed to house illegal aliens will reopen to public with upgrades after community uproar

Illegal immigrants relocated to more stable housing, other temporary sites.

A community center in one of Boston's poorest neighborhoods is slated to reopen soon after serving as a temporary shelter for illegal immigrants, according to a Fox News Digital report.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey's (D) office told the news outlet that the Melnea Cass recreation center in Roxbury will once again open its doors to the public on June 22.

Early this year, the administration announced that it was temporarily closing the state-owned community center to create additional shelter space for homeless long-time Massachusetts residents and newly arrived illegal immigrants. The temporary "safety-net" shelter housed approximately 100 families or 400 individuals on the state's waiting list.

'It’s very important to the community.'

The decision to shut down the recreation facility sparked outrage from the Roxbury community, some of whom came out to protest. In February, residents picketed outside the center, holding signs that read, "Our City Our Spaces," "Boston Is Full," and "Our Kids Come Last — Why?"

WHDH reported that another resident showed up to the protest with a sign that stated, "Why Roxbury? Try Wellesley!" referring to an affluent neighborhood in Boston.

Shawn Nelson, a resident who previously protested outside the facility, told WHDH, "They're talking about how we need to get the kids off the street, we need to give them programs because they're the future of us. ... Well, this is how you're treating the future, by kicking them out of their own place."

At the time, Healey responded to the community's outrage by saying, "We just have to do what we have to do," noting that the situation was "just born out of necessity."

Massachusetts is the only state in the country with a right-to-shelter law. In November, the state's emergency shelter system reached its maximum capacity, with 7,500 families.

A spokesperson for Healey's office told Fox News Digital that all of the homeless families and illegal immigrants have been moved out of the recreation center as the state prepares to reopen it for public use. The spokesperson noted that individuals previously residing in the community center were either relocated to more permanent housing or a different safety-net location.

Norm Stembridge, a former Roxbury resident and current cochair of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee, told WGBH that the recreation center's closure impacted locals.

“It’s very important to the community for young people for elderly folks,” he told the news outlet. “There are activities geared toward each age group. They look forward to a place to be able to exercise those activities.”

Before its reopening in the summer, the building will undergo several upgrades, including new flooring, equipment, tree planting, roof repairs, and solar panel installation.

The state has also opened several other safety-net sites to address the number of illegal immigrants still on its waiting list. Healey's office recently announced plans to convert a National Guard armory in Lexington into a temporary shelter space despite the facility's ongoing use, Blaze News previously reported. The state estimates that the building will be able to provide housing to 55 families.

A WBZ report published in February estimated that the state is spending approximately $64 per day to feed each illegal alien.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →