Coffee with Steve Roix

On March 27, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times


By Harry Kane

In a quirky coffee shop named Ola, located in the heart of Ward 1, newly appointed school committee representative, Steve Roix, sipped on Colombian coffee and reminisced about his arrival to Somerville.

Roix, now 39 years old, used to live Worcester with his wife before he moved to Somerville in 2004. But prior to his relocation, Roix had already started looking for dog parks. He had two mutts at the time, now they are both 12 years old. The first person he contacted was Michele Bisco of Som Dog, a non-profit organization advocating for canine rights.

“Michelle sort of recruited us into lobbying for the dog parks,” Roix recalls. “That was before the Nunziato Field Dog Park was open, and long before the Zero New Washington Street Dog Park.”

Roix used to call former Alderman Bill Roche all the time, and “bug him” about getting a dog park in Ward 1. “And that’s how he knew who I was originally,” Roix says. “That was my introduction to Somerville politics.”

“When Zero New Washington Street finally appeared, a lot of people don’t know this, but, Bill Roche was the one that identified that property to us when we were looking for a place to get a dog park in Ward 1,” he recalls.

The city of Somerville was originally planning on selling the land at Zero New Washington Street, according to Roix.

“I think the moment when I kinda fell in love with Somerville was when I started a petition to convince the city that they shouldn’t sell that land, they should make a park out of it!”

Roix took the petition around to neighbors. “I just took a lined sheet of paper, wrote something at the top, and started walking around my neighborhood…and some other people ended up helping me, but we ended up getting about 360 signatures on the petition.”

Knocking on doors that year, Roix got to know Ward 1 and fellow neighbors. “With a lot of people, there was language barriers, and there was other people that were sorta old-timey Somerville people that had grown up there,” Roix remembers. “I told them what the petition was for, and they looked at me like I was a little crazy, and they laughed, but they mostly signed it, anyway.” Zero New Washington Park opened in November of 2010.

During a recent Board of Alderman meeting, a resolution was submitted for a new program that would allow off-leash dogs into more parks during designated hours.

“I think there’s some merit to expanding access to dog owners into more regular parks, but you have to have the resources to hold the dog owners accountable,” Roix says. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that done as a pilot program.”



3 Responses to “Coffee with Steve Roix”

  1. MarketMan says:

    I’m fine with dog parks as long as dog owners are held accountable and rules are enforced (something Somerville doesn’t do well). BUT please keep priorities straight. Dogs are way less important than children, adolescent, and adult *humans*. It’s important that recreational facilities are geared first towards people, especially children.

  2. Mary says:

    I realize that this piece wasn’t written by Mr. Roix, and he perhaps had no control over the content, but how am I supposed to read a piece about a new School Committee Rep I have never heard of before, who didn’t have to campaign and win an election, and there isn’t one word about the schools, about education in general, or even about what he does for a living? What exactly makes him qualified to serve on the School Committee? The fact that he likes dogs? I hope he can convince us that he deserves that spot.

  3. Steve Roix says:

    I did tell this story to Harry Kane but also have 2 kids in the SPS and a lot to say about schools, sorry if I didnt come off that way. If you had attended any of the extensive public interview process I went through (with 8 other candidates) you’d know the school committee didn’t ask me any questions about dog parks.

    Call me 617.863.7649 and I’m happy to talk schools with you. Looking forward to continuing to meet Ward 1 families and working hard to improve our schools.

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