Co-signed by Union Square Neighbors and Union United Coalition
In February, the City of Somerville’s plans for the redevelopment of Union Square took a hard turn in the wrong direction. The city’s master developer, US2, announced plans for the development of D2, a former metal scrap yard and future gateway into Union Square next to the planned Union Square Green Line station. US2’s plan calls for 525 units of housing for millennials in a first phase of development on this strategic block, which is among Union Square’s most important and commercially viable locations, while remaining silent on their intentions for other parcels in the Union Square Revitalization Area.
With the rush to push forward this development on the D2 block in anticipation of the Green Line, expediency is being exchanged for planning. This piecemeal approach prioritizes US2’s short-term profits while failing to safeguard the community’s larger and longer-term goals for Union Square.
This is exactly the outcome we as a community set out to avoid. In fact, the rationale for hiring a master developer in the first place was to protect against “an unfettered market that cannot ensure the realization of the community’s goals.” This fear, articulated by Mayor Curtatone, appears to be coming true.
Over many years, the city and community members have worked together to create a long-term comprehensive plan called SomerVision. The development plans unfolding in Union Square stand in contrast to this vision. Over the past year, residents, business owners, and community organizations have enthusiastically responded to the call for additional public input to guide the redevelopment of Union Square. We have spent countless hours in dozens of meetings and through our respective organizations. We have repeatedly highlighted the importance of attracting and maintaining businesses and good jobs, increasing Somerville’s commercial tax base, creating housing options for residents and families of all socioeconomic levels, developing new open and green space, and fostering a more walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented commercial center.
We believed this input would be synthesized and incorporated into all aspects of Union Square’s development. But US2’s initial plans for the D2 block show a lack of accountability for the community’s goals.
Change in the redevelopment process is urgently needed. Before plans for D2 move forward, we call upon the city and US2 to carry out Union Square’s long-term goals. Specifically:
The 3-day design ‘charrette’ recently held in Union Square demonstrated how important it is that plans for Union Square’s most important location not be accelerated before an overall Neighborhood Plan with broad community support has been created. We won’t know what is right here until knowing how it fits into an overall vision for Union Square.
Many exciting and interesting ideas came out of the charrette, but those who attended the wrap-up event were left wondering how their goals and concerns were incorporated in the abstract building massing studies that were presented. This was an important start, but needs to result in an implementable plan that is accountable to the community’s long-term goals providing the framework to guide development. It is critical that adequate time and resources be provided to accomplish this.
The Green Line will soon arrive in Union Square because Mayor Curtatone, elected officials, the city, and the community had a long-term vision and worked hard to achieve it. With its impending arrival, we call upon the Mayor, the City of Somerville, and the Redevelopment Authority to show the same persistence and perseverance to ensure the achievement of Union Square’s long-term goals.
What is built on D2 will be among the most impactful developments in Somerville’s history, and will shape Union Square for the next century. This is an opportunity for Somerville to lead by cultivating a model of innovative, diverse and sustainable 21st Century urban development. The time to get this right is now. The costs of not doing so will be profound and long-lasting.
March 10, 2015
Somerville City Hall
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143
Dear George and members of the Somerville by Design team,
Over the past few months, many public meetings have been held in Union Square that included the presentation of studies and proposals to address traffic and streetscape issues in the square. These have primarily focused on the more heavily traveled arterial roads, and while improvements to these roads are critical, Union Square Neighbors asks that the ‘Neighborhood (master) Plan’ being created for Union Square contain a comprehensive study and traffic plan that includes our neighborhood streets as well.
As things are now, there are problems with pass-through vehicles cutting through the neighborhoods around Union Square, often at inappropriate or even dangerous speeds. Changes to the McGrath Highway, upcoming construction work on Union Square’s major streets and the addition of millions of square feet in new development stand to exacerbate this problem by adding additional pressure for cut-through trips in the adjacent neighborhoods.
At the Union Square “Visioning” meeting held on January 7 and 31, the safety benefits of vehicle speeds being limited to 20 mph or less were presented. We strongly agree with this as a goal for our neighborhood streets. Communities across country, including some right next to Somerville, have reduced vehicle speeds and discouraged pass through traffic while beautifying their neighborhoods at the same time through the addition of streetscaping and traffic calming devices which make the maximum comfortable speed for drivers a safe speed for pedestrians and children. Very nearby Union Square, a traffic table was installed in Concord Square that appears to be successful at reducing vehicle speeds and discouraging or mitigating the effect of cut-through traffic. Traffic calming provides round-the-clock speed enforcement rather than depending on officers to enforce speeds on a sporadic schedule.
Over the past year and a half, a group of neighbors on Prospect Hill has done some preliminary outreach within that neighborhood to determine potential solutions in this neighborhood. With the help and support of Mayor Curtatone and Ward 3 Alderman Bob McWatters, we have met with City officials to discuss this and produced some preliminary analysis that suggests the most important locations for traffic calming, as well as treatments that would be acceptable and have the most impact. Building on this preliminary work in one neighborhood, we ask that the Union Square ‘Neighborhood Plan’ include:
Union Square Neighbors Traffic Calming Work Group: Eric Fellinger, Patricia Berman, Suzanne Bremer, David Dinklage, Sam Engelstad, Erin Hemenway, Annette McGloin, Renee Scott, Avron Segal, Dominique Stassart, Tim Talun
Co signed: Maryann Heuston, Ward 2 Aldermen Bob McWatters, Ward 3 Aldermen, Nicole Dupre, James McCrea, Aileen & Mike Bellwood, Ruth Ronen, Sagi Ronen, Amy Deaner, Gys Sean Hockert, Greer Goodman, Joe Beckmann, Janine Fay, Deborah Pacini, Steve Mulder, Tim Ryan, Tara McCaffrey Andrew, Lindsey & Violet Sudbury, Sheryl Sarokas, Leonard Nuth, Elizabeth Aureden, Victoria Antonino, Michael Monroe, Erika Fellinger, Steve Hoey, James Baab, Corey Tedrow, Andrew Kopacz, Lhadon & Dhondup Phunkhang, Ray Warburton, Andy Pyman, Marcy Barnes, Debbie Hellweg, Juliet Perron, Rob Buchanan
Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor, City of Somerville
Somerville Board of Aldermen
Jennifer Molina, Transportation Planner
March 1, 2015
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone
Somerville City Hall
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143
Dear Mayor Curtatone,
We wish to thank you and the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD) for undertaking a community-wide search for applicants to fill vacancies on several community boards related to development including the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic Preservation Commission, and the Somerville Redevelopment Authority. We hope that your office received a healthy pool of qualified candidates to fill these positions.
Since the search process began in November, Union Square Neighbors (USN) understands that one vacancy has been filled on the Planning Board. We also understand that several vacancies and expired appointments remain, and we are eager to see these positions filled, including:
We are strongly supportive of filling these vacancies and expired appointments with individuals who have knowledge of the City’s zoning code and have expertise in areas such as real estate development and finance (including residential and commercial development), urban planning and design, architecture, landscape design, and transit oriented development. It is also important that members share the values of Union Square and Somerville as a whole. These values, which are articulated in SomerVision, include our community’s commitment to economic growth, diversity, arts and innovation, open space, affordable housing, multi-modal transit, and historic preservation. There are many talented and committed individuals in Somerville who can bring a wealth of relevant expertise to these boards. We believe it is important that these boards include representation by members with expertise to help guide the realization of these community values.
As always, we would be pleased to meet with you or members of your staff to discuss our perspective in more detail. We wish to thank you for your ongoing leadership and look forward to seeing these community boards working at full capacity.
Tim Talun, Chairperson
Union Square Neighbors
USN Steering Committee:
Tim Talun (Chairperson), JT Scott (Vice Chairperson), Rob Buchanan (Secretary), Andy Greenspon (Treasurer), Suzanne Bremer, Stuart Dash, Sam Engelstad, Jim McGinnis, Annette McGloin, Philip Parsons, Shu Talun, and Bonnie Tominack.
Board of Aldermen (BoardofAldermen@somervillema.gov)
Michael Glavin, Executive Director, Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ed O’Donnell, Director of Economic Development (email@example.com)
George Proakis, Director of Planning (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Omar Boukili, Mayor’s Aide (email@example.com)
Please see the message below which was prepared by the Union Square Neighbors Zoning Work Group and sent to the Board of Aldermen. We are hoping to hold a open USN meeting sometime in the weeks to come where we can discuss this analysis and other questions. More details on that to follow in the next week or two. To see the proposed zoning and submit comments directly to the City: http://www.somervillema.gov/zoning If you have been reading the proposed ordinance or are interested in zoning and would like to join in working through and analyzing this, please let us know.
February 10, 2015
Dear Members of the Board of Aldermen,
Over the past few weeks, a Union Square Neighbors (USN) work group has been meeting to review the proposed Somerville Zoning Ordinance. Revisions to zoning have been an important priority for USN and many Union Square residents for some time. With much of the City's future development set to happen in Union Square, it is particularly important to us to understand the impact of zoning as this will in many ways shape the future of our neighborhood. In general, the USN group is impressed by the overall vision, and is supportive of the zoning overhaul and its aspirations. There are clearly many significant improvements in the new zoning. However the complexity of replacing a traditional zoning ordinance with a form-based code, which is a very different approach, cannot be overstated. Our group includes architects, planners and other knowledgeable residents; we have collectively spent hundreds of hours reviewing this, and none of us feels as though we have a grasp of the full implications of what is being proposed. A complete zoning overhaul could easily have unintended consequences, and we believe there are risks to premature implementation. We are concerned about the overall time provided for review, comment and revision and are concerned about sufficient education and outreach to residents to understand the code, now that it is published. Accordingly, we ask that the Board of Aldermen consider agreeing at the outset to have this renoticed. While we have identified many areas of improvement in the new zoning ordinance, we have also outlined a few issues of concern below to demonstrate the need for a careful and rigorous review. Please note these are preliminary observations and we have not yet had a chance to review this with OSPCD.
Union Square Neighbors (USN) - Zoning Work Group
Rob Buchanan, Stuart Dash, Jim McGinnis, Philip Parsons, Bill Shelton, Maya Tal-Baker, Brien Tal-Baker, Tim Talun
Mayor Joseph Curtatone
George Proakis, Director of Planning
Union Square Neighbors sent a letter to the Somverville Community Preservation Committee (CPC) outlining seven projects that USN supports for the fiscal year 2015 funding cycle. The CPC received 15 applications totaling over $8.8 million for projects associated with historic resources and open space/recreation. The committee will be making recommendations for roughly $2.5 million in CPA funds to be allocated among open space and recreation. Several proposals in the Union Square area stood out to USN as meeting the CPA’s goals, including:
1. Prospect Hill Tower Renovation: $500,000
2. Prospect Hill Park Design Services: $89,000
3. Milk Row Cemetery Rehabilitation & Restoration: $17,500
4. American Tube Works Complex - National Register Nomination: $7,000
5. Somerville Community Growing Center Upgrade: $52,090
6. School Garden Classrooms: $45,373
7. 56 Bow Street: Exterior Restoration: $15,000
Read the full letter here.
MassDOT's 34-member McGrath Boulevard Project Development Working Group kicks off its work on November 19. The advisory group will be supporting MassDOT's work to develop design plans for the "Grounding McGrath" project, which seeks to remove the existing overpass that separates the Brickbottom neighborhood from Union Square. The first Working Group session will be held on November 19, 2014 from 6:00PM – 8:00PM at the Holiday Inn, 30 Washington Street.
Start thinking about what you want to see happen along the McGrath corridor. Check out the image below from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Street Design Guide, which includes updated engineering guidance for transit boulevards. Is this a good model for McGrath Boulevard?
One of our members pulled together some high-level ideas about how the "D2" parcel on the corner of Prospect Street and Somerville Avenue could be planned. Current timelines show that the D2 parcel will be built out to correspond with the opening of the new Green Line station in Union Square, which means the site plans could start to firm up by the spring of 2015.
The MBTA plan for the station shows two entrances: one on the lower level of the station facing the D2 parcel and a second upper-level entrance on the top of the Prospect Street bridge over the tracks. However, one open question is what should be build immediately adjacent to the new Green Line station (north of the tracks) on the D2 parcel. The MBTA plans show a circular drop-off area next to the lower level entrance of the T station. (A drop-off area within 100 feet of an entrance is required to meet accessibility requirements, and the upper level entrance doesn't have enough space to accommodate a passenger loading zone.)
But is a circular drop-off area the best use of the land directly next to a T station? Are there other alternatives that would still meet the requirement to have a passenger loading zone within 100 feet of an entrance? One option would be to widen the Prospect Street bridge, which would allow for a passenger loading area on the top of the bridge, but that could be years away and expensive. Other ideas are sketched out below. For example, what if Charlestown Street was connected to Prospect Street through the D2 parcel? That might allow for a passenger loading zone along Charlestown Street, particularly if the T station entrance could be bumped out to meet up with the newly constructed Charlestown Street.
What do you think? Do you have other ideas? Comments encouraged. (Note that the drawings include a rear "headhouse," which is not in the MBTA plans. They also include ideas about potential building locations and park space, all of which are still up for discussion.)
Option A: Circular Drop-Off
This option would maintain the circular drop-off idea included in the MBTA's current plan.
Option B: Bennett Court Drop-off
Option B would bump out the lower-level entrance of the T station to meet up with a newly constructed Bennett Court (slightly south of current location).
Option C: Charlestown Street/Bennett Court
In addition to reconstructing Bennett Court and bumping out the lower level entrance, Option C would open up new possibilities for vehicle circulation by connecting Charlestown Street to Prospect Street to the west and to Somerville Ave to the east (through the existing Target parking lot). It also shows an optional spur of Charlestown Street connecting to Medford Street in front of the Target building.
Option D: Charlestown Street
Option D would connect Charlestown Street and eliminate Bennett Court altogether.
- In January, there will be a meeting to discuss streetscape improvement alternatives including interim improvements and future improvements in 5 and 15 years.
- Approximately two-thirds of the total project investment relates to underground utility improvements.
WATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS
- New water mains will be needed on Somerville Ave (between Union Square and McGrath), Prospect Street, Washington Street b/w Bonner and Union Square plaza.
- Upkeep will be necessary (i.e. cleaning and lining existing water mains) on Webster Ave and Washington from Prospect Street to McGrath.
SANITARY/STORMWATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS
- Project will include separating sewer and water pipe and adding capacity from heart of Union Square down Somerville Avenue to Pat’s Towing near McGrath.
- Will increase size of pipe from 72 inch to ~96 inches.
- Project is also looking at Washington Street (between Union Sq and McGrath) through a more global analysis done by another contractor.
- Project is identifying potential locations for stormwater overflow underground storage tanks.
- Questions were asked about impact of potential sea rise and/or increase in water table. Engineer noted that water coming down Somerville Ave can currently go to three places, all of which already require pumping water to another location.
- Two-thirds of Somerville’s water drainage comes down through Union Square.
- Cost of project: More than $10 million; more study necessary to develop cost estimate.
- The City will have to pay for some part of this. Will look for other sources.
TRAFFIC DATA COLLECTION
- Conducted traffic counts during AM/PM peak hours at 15 different intersections around Union Square
- Also did 4-day study (Thursday through Sunday) in April (week before Marathon and School Vacation Week)
- Looked at origin/destination of vehicles, crash rates (2009-2011), and signal timing data
- Captured data on cars, trucks, buses, bikes, pedestrians.
- Biggest difference from earlier studies show more traffic down Webster toward Kendall square (10-15% increase)
- AM Peak Bike Counts: Highest volume down Somerville Ave, Webster Ave, toward Kendall: ~100 bikes per hour
- PM Peak Bike Counts: Up Prospect, left on Somerville Ave
- AM Peak Pedestrian Counts: Over 100 ppl crossing Somerville Ave at Webster Ave and Prospect Street
- Moving forward, the city of Somerville will implement concurrent pedestrian phasing in high traffic areas when new projects are undertaken; aligns with Boston and Cambridge pedestrian signaling.
Captured bluetooth data at 9 locations in Union Square
- Transponders located at 9 points to pick up bluetooth signals
- Captured unique vehicles; no personal information is captured; technology adjusts for outliers (like multiple bluetooth signals from bus passengers)
- Able to capture 10-15% of vehicles during peak hours, which is a statistically significant sample.
- AM Peak: 61% of southbound Washington Street goes to Webster Ave
- PM Peak: 28% of northbound Prospect Ave go to Somverville Ave westbound
- Look at D2, Boynton Yards, and Brickbottom to look at development growth in the future; look at a 2035 design alternatives
- Develop traffic projections for 2035
- Will use projections to determine what capacity requirements are necessary and what design alternatives will meet need
- Will evaluate whether 2-way Webster and Prospect Ave can be implemented sooner.
Disclaimer: These notes are not official. Please check the official minutes for clarification of discussion points and decisions.
Below is a summary of my notes from the 10/8/14 Union Square Civic Advisory Committee meeting. These notes are not official in any way. Any ambiguities or inaccuracies are my own. Please check the official minutes for clarification of discussion points and decisions. -Rob B
Union Square Civic Advisory Committee (CAC)
October 8, 2014
- Translation support will be available at future CAC meetings.
- Soil remediation and demolition has begun on D2 block (radiator/scrap metal site) with planned completion of site remediation and preparation by December 2014.
- Historic Union Square Post Office has been sold to developer and entertainment promoter, Don Law. The City has met with the developer and discussed the importance of the historic WPA mural in the building’s lobby, the Union Square Revitalization Plan, and the desire to see a performing arts component within the building. Don Law has said he has no firm plan for the building and will reach out to the City once a plan is developed.
- Oct 20: Union Square Utility and Infrastructure Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Argenziano School (If you are planning to attend, be sure to confirm date/time/location.)
- Nov 6: Union Square and Washington Street Green Line stations design meetings: Holiday Inn at 6 p.m. (If you are planning to attend, be sure to confirm date/time/location.)
- CAC is working on developing its own website/Google group which will be accessible to the public and allow for discussion and archived conversations.
- Draft development timeline for D2 block and Union Square Neighborhood Plan will be posted on www.somervilebydesign.com on October 9.
- Process for developing Union Square Neighborhood Plan will be led by City of Somerville with support from hired consultants.
- US2, the Union Square master developer, will lead a process to design individual blocks within the master development.
- State permitting process for Mass Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Environmental Impact Review will have a separate timeline; Developer/City may look to break up MEPA review into two phases: one for the D2 block, and another review for the project as a whole.
- Neighborhood Plan development begins in November 2014 and continues through 2015.
- Following a series of community meetings (~February), US2 will come forward with schematic design for D2 in April 2015 with other pieces to follow. D3 (south of the tracks on Webster Ave) also appears to be an area of focus, since it was mentioned several times by City officials.
- D2: construction begins fall of 2016; planned to be built by the time opens the same time as the T station.
- There was some discussion of how zoning overhaul overlaps with these processes and whether the zoning will need to change for the development parcels. Still no clear answer on this.
COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT – Presentation by Somerville Community Corporation and Union United Coalition
- Introductions and background of participating people and organizations in Union United Coaltion
- Example: Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy – Staples Center and the LA airport
- Example: Kingsbridge Armory
- Example: Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn
- Union United CBA proposal (note: I didn't have a copy of the presentation and wasn't able to write down everything that was said, so this may not be a complete list.):
---40% of housing units reserved for low/moderate income (of which half would be required to be family sized)
---Multigenerational community center
---Public art program targeting local artists
---Project labor agreement: prevailing wages, qualified apprenticeship program, funding for job training
---Small business protections/program
---30% of commercial space would be affordable
---New public safety building located in Union Square
- Union United Proposal for Community Benefits Process: Establish a group to focus on community benefits convened by Union United Coalition with seats for CAC, US2, and other community groups.
- Discussion followed: some members of the CAC indicated a desire to see that community benefits be developed by the CAC with regular input and participation from community members. Concern was expressed about duplicating CAC's efforts.
- Suggestion was made by several CAC members that membership of CAC may need to change to be more representative of community.
Union Square Neighbors submitted a letter to the Somerville Planning Board expressing support of the proposed development at 314-316 Somerville Ave, formerly the site of Fiesta Bakery, which experienced a fire and is now vacant.
“As a small, simple infill project, this is the right building for this location, blending well into its surrounding context, improving this stretch of Somerville Avenue, and improving the site it sits on,” wrote Tim Talun, USN Chairperson. “After seeing many projects proposed in Union Square that have been developed simply to maximize the financial potential of a site, it is refreshing to see a project like this that enhances what exists instead of simply replacing it.”
In its letter, USN also requested that the Planning Board consider how this developer can be strongly encouraged to ensure that the retail space proposed is well maintained and occupied by an active, neighborhood-oriented business.
Image by Seitz Architects
For those interested, below is a summary of my personal notes from tonight's Union Square Civic Advisory Committee meeting. They are not official or necessarily complete in any way. Any ambiguities or inaccuracies are my own. Please check the official minutes for clarification of discussion points and decisions. -Rob B
Union Square Civic Advisory Committee (CAC)
September 10, 2014
6:00 – 8:15 p.m.
City of Somerville planning staff (through “Somerville by Design” process) will kick off development of a Union Square neighborhood plan in November 2014.
- The City wants to have its own process that will lead the developers rather than the other way around.
- Tentative schedule includes a listening session in early November; a visioning session in February; and a neighborhood open house/design charrette (interactive workshop) in April 2015.
- Process is anticipated to conclude in September 2015; however, major themes and elements will likely be identified by spring 2015. Major themes and elements will assist with D2 parcel planning (see below).
- Neighborhood plan for Union Square will include Boynton Yards.
- CAC understands that its current scope does not include areas outside of master development; development of neighborhood plan is broader than the CAC’s role.
US2 is not yet under contract as master developer for Union Square.
- The City and US2 are still working on a master development agreement.
- The agreement will more formally signify that US2 is the master developer for the seven parcels within the master developer Request for Qualifications document. It will not be a comprehensive agreement that outlines a community benefits agreement (CBA). Determination and negotiation of one or more CBAs will come later in the process.
It’s understood that the CAC will be the forum for community participation in developing one or more Community Benefit Agreement(s) between the City and US2.
- October CAC meeting will focus on principles and definitions relating to community benefits; community members will be invited to share ideas and information.
Development of the D2 parcel (the radiator/scrap metal block) will likely move forward on a faster track than the overall master development.
- The City is under obligation to deliver a clear site to the MBTA for construction of the Green Line station.
- City has awarded a contract to a company to demolish all eleven existing structures on D2 lot. Demolition will commence in the near future. Contaminated soil will be removed and replaced.
- US2 is focused on delivering a building on the D2 parcel to correspond with the opening of the Green Line Station—consistent with commitment described in RFQ.
The City is working on developing a timeline that will illustrate ongoing overlapping and interdependent processes including:
- Development of master development agreement with US2
- Development of D2 parcel o Union Square/Boynton Yards Neighborhood Plan
- Community Benefits Agreement(s) with US2
- Zoning ordinance overhaul
- Working to plan a Business Roundtable
- Having discussions with Somerville transportation staff and Parsons Brinckerhoff regarding plan for Union Square roadway and infrastructure improvements
- Actively engaging and meeting with community groups to hear ideas and concerns
- Technical work/analysis beginning on environmental, transportation, and energy-related issues regarding the development of D2.
- On Monday night, the City will present to Board of Aldermen finance committee an update that City is looking at other sites for police and fire department given ongoing flooding issues at Union Square site.
Approximately 40 people, including members and representatives of Union Square Neighbors, Union Square Main Streets, and Union United Coalition, gathered for a neighborhood potluck and BBQ on July 20. The event was held at CrossFit Somerville on Prospect Street. Aldermen Maryann Heuston (Ward 2) and Bob McWatters (Ward 3) joined the festivities.
Union Square Neighbors (USN) in collaboration with Union Square Main Streets (USMS) announced a series of independent, neighborhood-organized events to help enliven all that is possible in the public realm in Union Square. USN and USMS have asked members of the vibrant, creative community in Somerville and greater Boston to talk about projects that make public spaces delightful for all and give terms like "open space," "green space," and "public space" some dimension and specificity. Three events will take place on July 24, July 31, and August 7 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at 35 Prospect Street (CrossFit). The events are free and the public is encouraged to participate. Go to event details.
Related Press Coverage:
Keeping Union Square Open for the Arts, by Steve Annear; Boston Magazine; July 18, 2014
Discussing Union Square Public Space, by Zhihong Li, Somerville Community Access Television; August, 12, 2014
Union Square Neighbors wrote a letter to the Somerville Redevelopment Authority and the Union Square Citizens Advisory Committee requesting that a Union Square Master Plan be developed as a prerequisite to decision-making regarding land use mix and community benefits for Union Square's master development.
Union Square Neighbors (USN) issued a press release expressing support for the choice of US2 as the master developer for Union Square. USN encouraged the Somerville Redevelopment Authority and the Union Square Citizens Advisory Committee to have an open stakeholder engagement process for determining land uses and negotiating community benefits for Union Square.
Related Press Coverage: USN support choice for US2 for Master Developer; The Somerville Times, June 27, 2014
In a letter to the Somerville Community Preservation Committee, Union Square Neighbors advocated that Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding be distributed with approximate parity among the three priority areas of historic preservation, open space/recreation, and affordable housing. USN also advocated that CPA funds be used to support restoration of the Prospect Hill Monument.
Related Link: Somerville Community Preservation Committee releases FY15 Community Preservation Plan, August 11, 2014