Health & Environment

Neighbors Ask City to Address Condition of Cutillo Park and Morton Street

Neighbors of Cutillo Park and Morton Street say the area has become a neighborhood dumping ground attracting drug use and other illegal activity. A letter from a 28-unit condo building at 26 Stillman Street describes the situation.

Morton Street and Cutillo Park are generally covered with trash of all types, hypodermic needles, dead rats, dog and human feces, and ripped up vegetation. The trash includes alcohol containers and beer bottles (often broken) as well as household trash (which has included mattresses, couches, stoves, water heaters, crates, shoes, clothing, etc.) and overflow from the numerous restaurant trash bins and used cooking oil containers that line Morton Street.

Perhaps because of the condition of Morton Street and the park, there is a considerable amount of illegal drug related activity there (including crack smoking and use by injection). Also, there are frequent rat sightings. In the winter, Morton Street is rarely, if ever, plowed by the City. The curbs and sidewalks along this public way are broken and unmaintained, and overgrown with vegetation.

Complaints about Morton Street and the playground at Cutillo Park have been recurring over the years. The group is asking city officials for regular cleaning, trash pickup, restaurant barrel removal and police patrol along the narrow public way.

8 Replies to “Neighbors Ask City to Address Condition of Cutillo Park and Morton Street

  1. The 26 Stillman Street residents, other resident abutters and commercial abutters should form a “Friends of Cutillo Park” to petition the City to renovate the park and both Morton and Stillman streets, create an inviting path to the park along Morton Street, and plan a long-term care partnership between the City and the Friends group. The capital improvements should include programming to create greater and longer day and seasonal activity, landscaping that doesn’t provide “cover” for illicit activity, and lighting and other security. I’d be happy to help. My late friend Marie Pistorio tried to bring City and community attention to this park, as well as all others. Records show that the land was purchased for a park in 1917. At the time, there were several brick row houses on both sides of Morton Street, and a few brick buildings along Stillman. Most of the owners were Jewish. Vincent Cutillo was killed in action in France on May 27, 1918.

      1. This is a very good time to use the help offered by David Kubiak to make Cutillo Park a jewel in the North End. With some help by all, this Park could really be a beauty and a great addition to the area. I hope you take advantage of his expertise.

  2. David, Always a great source of info. All great thoughts. I agree with the main post that a great start would be if businesses on Salem didn’t use it as personal trash alley. And all the fencing makes me think of a jail yard…

  3. David, thank you very much for the information on the history of the park, and on Vincent Cutillo. Looking at a 1920s map of the neighborhood, Cutillo Park was one of the largest and earliest parks in the North End. Yes, we will look at forming a Friends of Cutillo Park Group.

  4. Walked through the park today. A few observations: strong smell of human excrement at the Stillman Street entrance; fencing is too high and makes the park seem like a prison yard; play areas are filthy (a few toddlers with parents were playing in them); walls and other features are in disrepair, even crumbling away; the basketball court is in tough shape; Morton Street needs a complete overhaul and a decision on what it should be (best use). The trees look great! Some of the nicest trees in the North End. They were very recently pruned. I wonder whether this article prompted that. Someone (Boston Parks?) or a number of folks deserve thanks for the pruning.

  5. I live on Endicott, adjacent to 26 Stillman along Morton St. When I say that I have called A1 to report illegal activity and posted on 311 weekly – I’m not kidding. I’m honestly afraid at some point someone is going to get hurt back there at night (there is essentially NO lighting) or someone is going to break into my apartment that’s on the ground level. One of the people who is frequently in the area participating in illegal drug activity was carrying a power tool with a blade on the end of it – just walking around the park. It’s getting out of control.

    1. Shelley, you are to be commended for your ongoing concern and vigilence. Please continue to call 911 every time you see something or someone in the park that shouldn’t be there. Cutillo Park hours are dawn to dusk, so I would urge all abutters to call 911 whenever they see people hanging out at night so the police have a record of the complaint and will hopefully come by to remove them.

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