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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seven Aldermen Push Union Square Revitalization Plan to Victory

Mayor Joe Curtatone speaking at last night's meeting

The Union Square Revitalization Plan was passed during a Board of Aldermen Special Meeting last night with 7 supporting, 3 opposing and 1 absent. The plan took around 6 weeks from submission to approval.

Personal record for Mayor Curtatone?

Citing business owner fears of being included on an acquisition list and questioning whether the Green Line was ever going to be a reality, Aldermen Bill White, Tom Taylor and Rebekah Gewirtz stood staunch in their opposition to the $90 million plan.

Despite the sponsorship of a small business owner to offer testimony, the administration was able to get the votes needed to pass the plan, giving the green light to acquiring the first parcel, D2, which is rumored to be the new home of the Union Square Green Line Station.

Supporting Aldermen, including Ward 5’s Sean O’Donovan, applauded the Mayor’s vision and voiced their desire to see Union Square improve and move forward with the preparation for, what could be, the first Green Line Station in Somerville. O'Donovan went on to say that this preparation sends a strong message to the State that Somerville is ready for the Green Line.

Mentions of infrastructure improvements to avoid instances such as the 2010 flood were also made by Alderman Desmond with OSPCD Director Mike Glavin echoing. Included in the plan is the infamous picture of the heart of Union Square underwater.

The Aldermanic Chambers were filled with business owners and city officials until 9:30pm last night as the Board of Aldermen (1 absent) deliberated the plan with Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston making the only amendment to it in the form of a sentence change that the Somerville Redevelopment Authority encourage private to private dealings, rather than acquire land themselves.

This plan gives the RA the power to proceed in executing the plan without conferring with the Board of Aldermen first-a point that did not sit well with Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz who frequently reminded the Board that the RA is an unelected, mayor-appointed group.Glavin would agree with the Alderman's observation, but assured attendees that the relationship between the RA and the elected officials would be open and strong as it's the wish of both to see Union Square successful with new development and increased employment opportunities.

From here, the plan goes to the State’s Department on Housing and Community Development where it will be researched and decided upon in 30 days.

Video of October 2nd Board of Aldermen Special Meeting


Anonymous said...

Really appreciated your tweets during the meeting too!

Anonymous said...

This was really fast! Anyone else concerned about that?!?

Anonymous said...

No I'm not concerned that government actually acted reasonably efficiently to improve our cities economic future. (though since I've been hearing about this forever I don't know how it could be classified as "fast")

Anonymous said...

The speed is typical Curtatone. I'm worried about all the bonding. 25 mil for assembly, 8 mil for union, all the little shit requests thru-out the year. Its adding up.

Ward Five said...

Thanks for commenting!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I linked to the Somerville Redevelopment Authority page on this posting (a few times). It is found on the City's website and gives some information on the group & who its members are.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out changes that you made in the post, court, unlike other websites ;)