Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

June 17, 2013

2013 Municipal Election: Nomination Papers

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:19 pm

Nomination papers for City Council and School Committee will be available beginning Monday, July 1st at the Election Commission office, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge. The office will be open on Monday, July 1st from 8:30am until 8:00pm. The deadline to file nomination papers is Wednesday, July 31st at 5:00pm. The 2013 Municipal Election Calendar is posted on the Commission’s website: www.cambridgema.gov/election.

The requirements to run for City Council or School Committee are:

1. The person must be a registered voter in Cambridge. To register, one must be 18 years of age by Election Day, a U.S. citizen and a resident
in the City of Cambridge.

2. The person must file no fewer than fifty (50) and no more than one hundred (100) certifiable signatures of registered voters in the
City of Cambridge.

The Commission has prepared an information kit for candidates containing important dates, Commission policies, services and publications. The kits will be available with the nomination papers on July 1st.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

June 15, 2013

Silver Maple Forest – letter from Kristen von Hoffmann

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 12:14 pm

On Friday, June 14th I attended the Silver Maple Forest Day of Action, a peaceful gathering organized by Green Cambridge, TROMP, and Friends of Alewife Reservation to protest cutting down the Silver Maple Forest in the Belmont Uplands adjoining the Alewife Reservation. Cutting down this forest would be required to build new condominiums that are part of the proposed development plan for this area.

Kristen von HoffmannWhile we need to focus on planning for density in and near Cambridge, we must do so with the intent to create sustainable systems, and to build a city that can thrive well into the future. By sustainable, I mean a city that preserves critical aspects of Cambridge that are unique and special, while also accounting for elements that must change.

Sustainability means building and planning with the natural environment in mind, and with respect to neighborhoods, businesses, and universities. When I look at an issue like the development of our precious, few remaining acres of wetlands, I am appalled.

How can we be so short-sighted? We are living in a world, a city, and a context that demands leadership that will fight to preserve our precious remaining open spaces. We are living in a world that demands innovative leadership, not the status quo. Instead of destroying this forest, we need to think creatively about how to design for the future, and how to build housing in places that can accommodate new development with the least hazardous impact. Razing a beautiful and rare space such as the Silver Maple Forest and uprooting a rich wildlife corridor that runs through Cambridge, Belmont, and Arlington is simply unacceptable.

The forest and wetlands are extremely important in the age of climate change, as they absorb water runoff after storms and flooding. As we are seeing greater increases in rainfall and more destructive storms, it is crucial to preserve this important open space that acts as a natural sponge and mitigates the effects of these storms.

The citizen-based Belmont Coalition and the Friends of Alewife Reservation are both plaintiffs in an active lawsuit to stop this development, and their continuous appeals have kept the forest intact so far. But time is running out. I urge you to contact your city councilors, town selectman and state legislators directly, and to ask them to stop this development from happening.

This is not the time for complacency. Please make your voices heard.

Thank you,
Kristen von Hoffmann
Candidate for Cambridge City Council

June 13, 2013

Celebration of Magazine Beach Park – Saturday, June 15

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 11:48 pm

Magazine BeachMagazine Beach was an island? People swam in the Charles River? That granite-block building stored gunpowder for ships in Boston Harbor? All of these questions and more will be answered to the tune of Cambridge’s finest Best Ever Chicken (bluegrass band), kite flying and races for children, learn-to-row lessons and art at Magazine Beach Park Saturday, June 15, 12-5pm. In case of rain, the art installation in the 1818 powder magazine will still be on and the music and picnic will move into the Riverside Boat Club, just across from Starbucks (at Micro Center/Trader Joe’s Plaza), on Memorial Drive.

The Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Charles River Conservancy, the Riverside Boat Club and many others, will offer Celebration 2013 at Magazine Beach. Their goal: to bring the community together in Cambridge’s second largest park and create an awareness of its rich history and great potential: 15 acres along the Charles River. The event is a Cambridge talent show with Artforming and Danielle Sauvé using lights and sound to transform the interior of the 1818 powder magazine into a place of memories and meditation; Nancy Adams, former head of the experimental art group Mobius, leading a performance around the magazine; public artist Ross Miller, David Craft of Gallery 263 and Lars Anderas (UMass Boston graduate student) marking the shoreline of Captain’s Island; and Cambridgeport’s own If this park could talk signs… all over the park – just for the day – revealing the site’s stories. The Riverside Boat Club, home of many rowers preparing for the Olympics, will offer learn-to-row lessons.

Magazine BeachThere will be food trucks, cold lemonade, a new history of Magazine Beach, and almost everything but swimming in the Charles River. (We’re not quite ready for that.) Rain or shine, come to the park for entertainment, fun and community. It’s free! For further information, go to www.magazinebeach.wordpress.com or join us on facebook at: www.facebook.com/magazinebeach.

Partners: Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Charles River Conservancy, the Riverside Boat Club, the Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge Historical Society, Artforming, Gallery 263 and UMass Boston
Sponsors: New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, Charles River Conservancy, Forest City & Anonymous

Magazine Beach is a DCR park in Cambridge, MA, along the Charles River.

Magazine Beach Party

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School & Putnam Avenue Upper School Groundbreaking Ceremony – Monday, June 17 at noon

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 12:41 am

Cambridge, MA — The City of Cambridge will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School & Putnam Avenue Upper School Monday, June 17, at 12:00pm, 100 Putnam Ave. (rear), Cambridge.
Note on Directions: Please access site from Kinnaird St. or Hayes St. only. Please do not use Magee St. This is an active construction site so please stay inside marked barriers for your safety.

Project Background
In July 2012, the city’s project architect, Perkins Eastman, presented City officials with its Feasibility Study for the new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Construction Project. Three options were considered and the final decision was to replace the existing structure with a new energy efficient NET ZERO building design. During the design phases, the occupants participated in the building programming, which included education of what a NET ZERO design consists of, and why their actions when using the building will help control the energy consumption. This design is scheduled to be completed for bid in early Fall 2013.

The Construction Manager at Risk, the Rich-Caulfield Venture, began abatement of hazardous materials and demolition in April 2013. These activities should be completed by the end of October 2013. The construction start date for the foundations, steel and geothermal wells is anticipated for early Fall 2013. The final construction phase shall begin following final project bids due in December 2013 and occupancy is scheduled for September 2015. The present total project costs approved by the City Council in September 2012 was $84,550,000. Design features of the 187,000 square foot building and indoor parking garage include:

  • Geothermal Wells which extract heat from the ground thus helping keep energy costs low;
  • Daylight Harvesting which includes glass and other design elements that enable natural light to pass through the building;
  • Automatic Lighting Dimmer System which helps conserve energy use;
  • Gray Water Storage System which helps conserve water use;
  • 30 kBtu/sf/year which describes the building’s energy use and efficiency performance. The average K-12 school in America has an efficiency rating of 169 kBtu/sf/year. This design goal of 30 kBtu/sf/year means the new school will be 82% more efficient than the average American school.

The school will contain all new facilities and equipment for its classrooms, library, auditorium, gymnasium, community rooms, new outdoor play space and improved parking. For project updates, visit the Martin Luther King Construction Project Webpage, http://www.cambridgema.gov/cmanager/mlkjrschoolconstruction.aspx.

June 11, 2013

Completing the Square

Filed under: Cambridge,Central Square,planning — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 2:49 pm

Central Square in Cambridge has once again become a focal point for planners, activists, property owners, developers, elected officials, and residents. There is much that can be said, but the primary point of this picture book is to emphasize the opportunities that exist in what may be a narrow window in time to "Complete the Square" in a manner that should satisfy most people. Here are a few images (mostly taken on Monday, June 10, 2013) to help tell this story.

It’s important to understand that Central Square today is just an echo of the days when it was a prime shopping district for the residents of Cambridge and elsewhere. There are proposals today that would encourage a more diverse mix of retail and bring more residents close to the Square. This may require some creative changes in the zoning laws to bring about these positive changes. There’s plenty of room for debate on location, height and density but there are good opportunities now to make some great changes for the better. – RW

Central Square
This was once the site of the Cambridge Athenaeum
which also served for a time as City Hall
Central Square
There seems to be something missing next to the
beautiful facade of the Barron Building.
Cambridge Athenaeum
Central Square
This site at Pearl Street could be so much more vital than it is today.
Central Square
Another strip of "taxpayers" – one story structures that occupy space formerly occupied by far more appropriate structures.
Central Square
The rhythm of Mass. Ave. benefits from a mixture of taller
and shorter structures, especially when the sides of the taller
buildings have something to offer visually.
Central Square
This is one of the most deficient parts of the Central Square streetscape – a site where new retail and residential uses would be a great benefit. Today the most prominent feature is the graffiti next door.
Central Square
Central Square could be so much better than prominent displays of vandalism. There should be great buildings all the way to Norfolk St.
Central Square
The site of the Middle East Restaurant today occupies what was a
building with several stories. It could use some upstairs space.
Central Square
Many of us remember this block when you could rent tools in one location, watch a movie in another, buy clothes at another, and enjoy some great Chinese food.
Central Square
This block is improving, but we could still do better.
Central Square
One of the blocks that seems to be missing a lot. The Central
Square Cinema and other storefronts once occupied this space.
Central Square
Lafayette Square now hosts Jill Brown-Rhone Park. This end of the Square can only improve with more residents in proximity.
Central Square
Standing like a lone soldier in what should be a series of great buildings.
Central Square
Miracle of Science at the eastern edge of the Square
Central Square
The park is beautiful and tries to draw attention from the
scene’s most prominent feature – a blank pink wall.
Central Square
This may be the most incomplete corner in all of Central Square.
The decaying billboard on the roof guards the deficit.
Central Square
The U-Haul is convenient for those who are moving, but this stretch of Main Street would be so much better with residential uses.
Central Square
One of the many Quest sites recently sold which may soon
potentially enhance this area.
Central Square
Another missing tooth. The outline of a former building is apparent on the blank brick wall.
Central Square
Ideally, the future Central Square would still retain some of its industrial past, but maybe people could live next door to the chocolate factory.
Central Square
The view from Main Street across Lafayette Square
Central Square
The view toward the hotel at University Park. Ideally, Central Square should have more of a rhythm of heights and density.
Central Square
Architecturally Lacking – #1
Central Square
Architecturally Lacking – #2
Central Square
This end of Columbia St. would be so much better with more activity.
Central Square
A great Central Square building

  Central Square
Central Square Hardware and Tool Rental was once here until a
spectacular fire destroyed the building. It’s now a parking lot.

A view of what this block once looked like is shown at right.

 
 Central Square
Central Square
Another great Central Square building
Central Square
The Odd Fellows Hall (now the Dance Complex) seems to be missing a neighbor.
Central Square
Vacancies where there was once a very active street
Central Square
Though this site at Pearl Street is just feet from public transit and should support more height, the existing building seems to be in good shape.
Central Square
The site of the former Manhattan Market has cycled through multiple commercial tenants in recent years.
Central Square
The old signage on the side of the Barron Building
Central Square
This block could stand to have a lot more character.
Central Square
The Barron Building – another great Central Square building
Central Square
Here’s an example of a good-looking tall building in Central Square.
Central Square
Most of us agree that we don’t want this kind of tall building again.
Central Square
The often-criticized Holmes Building was supposed to have cafes and other amenities on the ground floor. Instead we got banks and phone stores.
Central Square
With the old pool removed, we get a brief look at the YWCA prior
to new housing construction on Temple Street.
Central Square
Looking across the Temple Street lot toward City Hall
Central Square
The ultimate eyesore – Vail Court still vacant after decades
Central Square
Lost opportunity – Vail Court still vacant on Bishop Allen Drive
Central Square
View from the balcony of the new Alice K. Wolf Center
Central Square
View of the Holmes Building from the Alice K. Wolf Center
Central Square
View of City Hall from the Alice K. Wolf Center
Central Square

Central Square Central Square Central Square
Central Square Central Square Central Square

June 8, 2013

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: Six Pivotal Episodes

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: Six Pivotal Episodes

By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990

In 2012, the Cambridge Civic Journal published "Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: Initial Years, 1963 to 1982". The following commentary focuses on six pivotal episodes during the 1963-1982 time period which provided the impetus for major development in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project. Successful development of the Kendall Square Project was a major factor in helping to attract high-tech companies to locate in the eastern sector of the City of Cambridge. Today there are over 163 institutional research companies within a 1-mile radius of the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project area (Source: Boston Consulting Group, Capital IQ DB, U.S. Census Bureau, National Science Foundation.)

The episodes are described in chronological order.

1. Conceptualization and initiation of the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project

In 1963, Mr. Robert F. Rowland, a city planner with extensive urban redevelopment experience, commuted to his job with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), parking his car in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Kendall Square rapid transit station parking lot. He noticed the area north of the rapid transit station was severely underdeveloped and an urban blight with underutilized, largely vacant and obsolete industrial and warehouse buildings. Because of the extent of urban blight, there did not appear to be any prospects for private development there. As a city planner, he visualized the land as an ideal site for urban redevelopment because of its unique locational advantages, including the rapid transit station, proximity to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), direct subway connections to Harvard and downtown Boston, and easy connection to Logan Airport.

Rowland was aware President John F. Kennedy had assigned the task of sending an American astronaut safely to and from the Moon before the end of the decade to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which was searching for a site in the Boston area for development of its Electronic Research Center.

On their own time, Rowland and two associates sketched out a redevelopment plan for the Kendall Square area which would accommodate NASA and provide land for NASA-related private development. He presented his concept plan to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) which asked him to work with the CRA to move the plan through the redevelopment process. Rowland agreed, left his job with the BRA, was hired by the CRA and in 1964 was appointed CRA Executive Director.

In 1964, the CRA presented the concept plan to the Cambridge City Council. The Council voted to have the CRA prepare a redevelopment plan for the Kendall Square area with two objectives: (1) to provide land for both NASA and private development which would generate needed tax revenues for the City of Cambridge and employment opportunities; and (2) to secure maximum federal funds to help alleviate concerns about Cambridge’s ability to finance its share of the cost to carry out the project.

With respect to the first objective, the City of Cambridge, with support from local and congressional representatives, convinced NASA officials of the advantages of a Kendall Square location. After discussions and consultations among the CRA, NASA, Cambridge representatives and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it was determined that development could be expedited by using the urban renewal process.

2. Financing Cambridge’s $6.5-million share of the project cost

With respect to the second objective, the CRA advised Cambridge officials to take advantage of a complex urban renewal financing formula which could be used to "secure maximum federal funds" to finance Cambridge’s share of the cost to carry out the project.. The formula, based on Section 112 of the Housing Act of 1949, provided that expenditures by educational institutions and hospitals on facilities located within a mile of an urban renewal project that contributed to the objectives of the urban renewal project can be used as credits ("Section 112 credits") to cover the local share of the project cost.

The CRA took the lead in coordinating the efforts of Cambridge, MIT officials and congressional representatives to work out the details required to secure federal approval of the Section 112 credits financing plan. The City and MIT entered into an agreement which provided that MIT prepare a Development Plan which included MIT property located within a mile of the redevelopment area to be used for educational purposes. After the City’s review and approval of the plan, the expenditures incurred by MIT to acquire land and construct buildings in accordance with the plan could be used as Section 112 credits. Subsequently, when the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project was approved, MIT provided $6.5-million dollars in Section 112 credits to cover the City of Cambridge’s entire share of the project cost.

3. NASA Quits. CRA amends Kendall Square redevelopment plan and objectives

The original Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan covered 43 acres of land and designated 29 acres for use by NASA and 14 acres for NASA-related private development. The initial four years of the project were executed expeditiously. The CRA transferred 19 acres of vacant land to NASA for construction of a 14-story office tower and five low-rise buildings, and prepared an additional 10 acres of vacant land for future development by NASA. In 1970, without warning, NASA decided to abandon its operations in the project. It indicated it did not need the 10-acre site of vacant land designated for its development, and was transferring its interests in the project to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT established the National Transportation System Center on the site formerly occupied by NASA and named it after John A. Volpe, Secretary of DOT and former governor of Massachusetts

Cognizant that the 10-acre site originally designated for NASA’s use under the terms of the original Kendall square Urban Renewal Plan was still undeveloped and in CRA possession, the CRA recognized an opportunity to expand the area of land which could be developed for private uses which would benefit Cambridge more than if the land was developed by the federal government. The CRA decided to amend the Kendall Square Plan to designate new reuses for the undeveloped land even though that meant starting again the complicated and time consuming process of preparing a second Kendall Square Plan.

The CRA commenced negotiations with DOT Secretary Volpe, making the case that DOT should relinquish its rights to Parcel 2 because NASA’s withdrawal from the project was a breach of its contractual obligation with the CRA; a flagrant disregard of its commitment to the community; and had undermined the City’s program to market the project area for private development. After 2 years of prolonged negotiations among the CRA, DOT, U.S. General Services Administration, and HUD, Secretary Volpe released DOT’s rights to Parcel 2 to the CRA.

When NASA decided to withdraw from the Kendall Square area, the feeling in the City of Cambridge was that the project had been delivered a tremendous setback because it had lost its major developer. As it turned out, despite the years of development delays caused by NASA’s the withdrawal, it was a blessing in disguise because the additional 10-acres of land plus the 14 acres already designated for private development became a 24-acre site large enough to create a critical mass for high-tech development in the Kendall Square Project which eventually helped to attract additional high-tech development in the eastern sector of Cambridge.

4. Urban Land Institute Advisory Services engaged to help break planning deadlock.

Cambridge was unprepared for carrying out the difficult and complicated tasks involved in overhauling the original plan and replacing it with an entirely new plan. Cambridge City Council created a task force comprised of representatives from a cross-section of Cambridge organizations and the Cambridge Planning Department to work with the CRA in the re-planning effort. A number of plans were developed, including proposals with contradictory project objectives, including "quick-fix" land uses, such as a beer distribution warehouse, a soccer field, open space, even restoring the Broad Canal, but the City could not arrive at a consensus.

Over time, a cloud descended over the project’s development potential and grumbles concerning the apparent lack of progress in redeveloping the site began to be heard, even mockery about changing the name of Kendall Square to "Nowhere Square".

To help break the planning deadlock, the CRA retained the advisory panel services of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to review the Kendall Square Project and propose ways to move the project in the right direction. In carrying out the assignment for the CRA, panel members first spent two days reviewing comprehensive briefing materials prepared by the CRA staff and touring the project and surrounding area. Then individual panelists and teams conferred with nearly 100 community spokespersons, citizens, business persons, government officials, members of the local real estate community, and others interested and concerned with the future revitalization of the Kendall Square area.

The ULI panel concluded that only a few properties in the country had a broader array of locational advantages as the Kendall Square area and the opportunities associated with the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: "Cambridge Center is a unique opportunity area, one that should be reserved to maximize its locational advantages". The ULI panel presented a point of view that the Kendall Square Project was a valuable asset that has the potential to produce great benefits to the City of Cambridge; and that the CRA and Cambridge City Council should resist the impulse to dispose of the land to take advantage of its short term marketability in response to concerns being expressed about development delays. The panel urged the CRA and City to be patient and adopt an optimal type of development that reflected the highest and best use for the land which would bring the greatest long range benefit to the Cambridge community. The panel proposed a long-term, sophisticated, large-scale, mixed-use optimal type of development.

The ULI panel’s professionalism and diligence in carrying out its mission impressed and gained the confidence of the CRA and Cambridge City Council which endorsed the panel’s recommendations and approved a Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan for a mixed-use development, with the general objectives of generating tax revenues and jobs.

The ULI panel also warned that attracting developers would not be easy: "Citizen concerns, political pressures, economic uncertainty, and the absence of a united and strong development process have combined to create a credibility problem with the real estate development community". The Panel advised the CRA could overcome developer skepticism about the development climate in Cambridge by establishing a record for getting things done.

The CRA responded by removing all legal and technical impediments to development; completing an Environmental Impact Statement; securing plan and zoning amendments; and carrying out a $7-million public improvements program, including construction of infrastructure and execution of traffic circulation plans.

5. Boston Properties selected to develop Cambridge Center

For marketing purposes the name Cambridge Center was adopted to refer to the 24 acres in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project outside of the land occupied by DOT. In 1978, the CRA invited proposals to develop Cambridge Center. Four well qualified developers were selected as finalists, including Boston Properties which was not as well known in the Boston area as the other developers. After exhaustive interviews with each developer and analysis of each development proposal, the CRA designated Boston Properties as developer for Cambridge Center because it had two significant advantages over its competition:

1. Boston Properties’ two principals had worked as a team for many years producing a number of successful well-designed real estate developments nationwide. In contrast, the other finalists had undergone changes or formed new teams, making evaluations of future performance difficult.

2. Boston Properties’ financial capabilities were impressive. It was well capitalized and had a net worth adequate to sustain a large and complex development such as Cambridge Center. It had current assets sufficient to fund first-rate design and site planning; a cash flow arising from a broad, geographically diverse base of real estate investments that could support substantial start-up costs and sustain development during difficult economic times; and a proven ability to manage investment property effectively and efficiently.

Boston Properties turned out to be the right choice because it had the background, experience, resources and patience to attract the type of users that met the standards proposed in the ULI recommendations, that of promoting land development to its highest and best uses. Subsequently, the development of Cambridge Center benefitted the City of Cambridge by achieving goals for the amended Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan set by the Cambridge City Council: generating $15-million in annual property tax revenues and 7,500 jobs.

6. High-tech development

The combination of (a) the presence of MIT, an international leader in high-tech research and innovation; (b) Polaroid’s decision to locate in Technology Square, a real estate development started in the 1960’s by Cabot, Cabot and Forbes in partnership with MIT that also included Rogers Block, a CRA urban renewal project adjacent to the Kendall Square Project; (c) the presence of Draper Laboratories in the immediate neighborhood; and (d) decisions by the Whitehead Institute and Biogen in 1982 to locate in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project area were key elements leading to the emergence of high-tech development in the Kendall Square Project, and helping to attract major technology and biotechnology development in the eastern sector of Cambridge. Today there are over 163 institutional research companies within a 1-mile radius of the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project area.


P.S. Robert F. Rowland was CRA Executive Director during all the episodes from 1963 to 1982.

As CRA Associate Director, Thad Tercyak participated directly in the episodes from 1968 to 1990.

June 5, 2013

Grand Opening – Community Learning Center, Multi-Service Center and Cambridge Housing Authority

Filed under: Cambridge,Central Square — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 12:06 pm

Grand Opening Celebration and Open House for Cambridge Community Learning Center,
Multi-Service Center and Cambridge Housing Authority – Monday, June 10, 3:00-5:00pm

The City of Cambridge invites you to a grand opening celebration and open house for Cambridge Community Learning Center, Multi-Service Center for the Homeless and Cambridge Housing Authority Monday, June 10, from 3:00-5:00pm at the former site of Cambridge Police Department, 5 Western Avenue/362 Green Street. Light refreshments will be served.

The City of Cambridge invites you to a grand opening celebration and open house for Cambridge Community Learning Center, Multi-Service Center for the Homeless and Cambridge Housing Authority Monday, June 10, from 3:00-5:00pm at the former site of Cambridge Police Department, 5 Western Avenue/362 Green Street. Light refreshments will be served.

5 Western AvenueThe Community Learning Center (CLC) helps adults improve their lives and increase their community participation through free educational programs, tutoring, basic computer instruction. Programs include:

  • English language classes
  • Classes in basic reading, writing, and math
  • Preparation for the GED examinations
  • Preparation for college or a training program
  • Preparation for the U.S. citizenship test

The Cambridge Multi-Service Center (MSC) addresses the needs of homeless and near-homeless individuals and families living in our community. We provide direct services, planning and coordination of efforts for persons who are living on the street, in emergency shelters or at risk of losing their housing.

The Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) provides more than 5,000 low income families, elders and disabled individuals with affordable apartments or rental assistance.

The CHA fulfills its mission through:

  • The ownership and management of over 2,700 units of housing
  • The administration of over 2,300 Housing Choice vouchers
  • Continued development of affordable units
  • A wide range of tenant services

For more information visit their respective websites:
Community Learning Center
Multi-Service Center for the Homeless
Cambridge Housing Authority

Cambridge Historical Commission Announces Preservation Awards

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 9:42 am

The Cambridge Historical Commission is pleased to announce the recipients of its annual Cambridge Preservation Awards. Inaugurated by the Commission in 1997, the program celebrates both outstanding historic preservation projects and notable individuals for their contributions to the conservation and protection of the city’s architecture and history.

The award winners include exterior renovations of homes at 1531 Cambridge Street, 8 Cleveland Street, 8 Cottage Street, 31-33 Fayette Street, 24 Highland Street, 102-104 Inman Street, and 122 Oxford Street. The Anthony C. Platt award for an exceptional project in a neighborhood conservation district was awarded to Adrian Catalano for the restoration of the two-family home at 38-40 Arlington Street in the Avon Hill district. Other restoration projects to receive awards are the Great Dome and Barker Library Reading Room at M.I.T.’s Building 10, Christ Church on Garden Street built in 1761, the YMCA in Central Square with its Central House residential rehab, and the former Immaculate Conception Lithuanian Church and Rectory at 424-430 Windsor Street that were successfully adaptively re-used for affordable housing by Just A Start Corporation.

Individuals to be honored for their unique contributions to preservation are Catherine Korsgren, who donated a preservation restriction to Historic New England for her Italianate home at 10 Hollis Street, the board members of the Longview Corporation at 983-986 Memorial Drive for adopting a window restoration policy, and Jane Carbone, Robert Costa, and Deb Hall, three project managers at Homeowner’s Rehab, for their many excellent examples of rehabilitation of older buildings for affordable housing in Cambridge.

Participants in the Cambridge Community Development Department’s Façade, Signage, and Lighting Improvement Program received Certificates of Merit for projects at 1166 Cambridge Street (Puritan & Co. Restaurant), 1 JFK Street (The World’s Only Curious George Store), and 1682 Massachusetts Avenue (Giulia Restaurant).

The Cambridge Historical Commission congratulates the commitment and hard work of the individuals who contributed to these projects that make Cambridge a more attractive and desirable place in which to live and work. The awards ceremony was held at Fariborz Maseeh Hall at M.I.T. on Thursday, May 30. Maseeh Hall received a Preservation Award in 2009. It is the university’s largest undergraduate dormitory and has a rich residential history.

For more information, please contact the Historical Commission at 617-349-4683.

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