By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Residents of the Bolton Street housing community in Marlborough remembered their friend Patti Foti and celebrated their small but active community May 25.
Just over a year after Foti passed away unexpectedly, the current members of the Bolton Street Tenants Committee took time to celebrate the work she did during her short time living in Bolton Street housing. Foti was the founding member and the first president of the Tenants Committee.
“She got me involved, which is something that I’ve always liked doing,” said Dru Duval, Foti’s friend and the current committee president. “Together, we just put our heads together and said ‘This is what we would like to do; can we do it; can we get someone else to help?’ From there, it just took off.”
Through her previous work as a home healthcare worker who visited the community for her job, and her work as an advocate after moving in, Foti garnered the respect and praise of city officials and neighbors alike.
“She quickly helped organize the tenants in working with the [city] staff,” said Douglas Bushman, executive director of the Marlborough Community Development Association, which helps run three public elderly housing developments in Marlborough.
“She had a very big impact in a small amount of time,” he added.
The May 25 event in memory of Foti reflected her ties to the city, drawing roughly 40 people from the Bolton Street Community and the Marlborough city government. Among those 40 attendees was Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who has frequented such events in the past and chairs one of the administrative boards that manages public elderly housing in Marlborough.
“It was a fantastic event,” he said. “It was great to see some people there because that’s the type of thing that Patti put together on a regular basis. She was able to organize and get people involved and make sure everyone felt like they were at home when they were living there.”
In addition to remembering Foti, organizers celebrated the contributions of volunteers within the community by presenting “Citizen of the Year” awards to residents Sally Swartz and William Freeman.
After the success of this year’s event, Bushman said he expects the Bolton Street Tenants Committee to remain involved in working with the city to better their community throughout the year.
“We want to do something like this on an annual basis to remember the good work that Patti did and to do a special thanks to a tenant in the past year for their volunteer efforts,” he said. “The committee is also going to be active doing events like these and helping out their neighbors.”