Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

October 15, 2014

Catching up on the Cambridge News (Sept-Oct 2014)

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 5:08 pm

Catching up on the News (from September-October 2014 press releases and other sources)

Topping Off the King School - Sept 18, 2014Cambridge Celebrates First Municipal Building Targeting Net Zero Energy

City officials celebrated a major construction milestone at a topping off ceremony September 18 of the new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School at 100 Putnam Avenue, Cambridge. Designed by Perkins Eastman, the innovative school, which is targeting Net Zero Energy, is scheduled to open in time for the 2015-2016 school year.

The 169,000 sq. ft. school and the 18,200 sq. ft. parking structure will contain all new facilities and equipment for its classrooms, a library, auditorium, gymnasium, community rooms and new outdoor play space. The building will accommodate 740 students and 125 staff in a JK-5 Lower School and an Upper School for grades 6-8. Expressly designed to be a center of its community, the school will include a 40-student preschool and robust community school and afterschool programs.

The new building is projected to have an Energy Use Intensity 60% less than typical educational buildings in New England and will save energy through proper orientation, pervasive natural light in almost every space, and high-performance roof and wall assemblies. In addition to user-specific energy-saving measures, the school will offset energy demands by producing energy through photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof and south-facing facades.

Topping Off the King School - Sept 18, 2014The design for the new school was driven by the idea of the school as a community, with the Lower School and the Upper School operating as distinct “neighborhoods” connected by an internal thoroughfare, named King Street, from which the shared community spaces are accessed. In support of extending learning into the environment, an important feature of a 21st century school, the school will include a City Sprouts garden, a preschool playground, a teacher’s patio, a courtyard garden featuring an indoor/outdoor performance space and roof terraces.

This school building will be unlike any building the city has seen before,” said City Manager Richard C. Rossi, adding that it is also the first city building expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification. “This is a solid investment we are making in the children of Cambridge. When the school, as well as street and sidewalk improvements to the area are completed, we believe it will be the envy of the community and a beautiful new amenity for the faculty, the students, the parents and the neighborhood.”

Cambridgeport School receives $500,000 from Cambridge Preservation Act (CPA) funds for new Playground
School playground will get much needed update to better serve younger student population.

On Monday, September 15th, the Cambridge City Council followed the Community Preservation Act Committee’s recommendation and voted to allocate $500,000 of Cambridge Preservation Act (CPA) funds to redesign and renovate the Cambridgeport School Playground. In April of this year, Cambridgeport Principal Katie Charner-Laird reached out to Mayor David P. Maher to request an updated playground that was more appropriate for the schools younger demographic. Mayor Maher moved swiftly, asking that the City Manager Richard C. Rossi, and the Department of Public Works look into the possibility of using CPA funds to update the playground. Mayor Maher stated “with the creation of the Innovation Agenda, the Cambridgeport School went from a K-8th grade to a K-5th grade school which meant that the playground was not age appropriate. My office was able to work with the City to quickly rectify the situation and secure an appropriate amount of funding for a project like this.”

With a series of meetings in the Cambridgeport School library, Mayor Maher, co-chair of the School Committee Fred Fantini, City Manager Rich Rossi and Deputy City Manager Lisa Peterson were able to meet with parents and staff to better understand their community’s needs and move forward with some interim measures as well as start the CPA request process.

From those meetings the Cambridgeport School parents became fully engaged with the process and collected over 250 signatures from parents, neighbors and staff with an online petition to the CPA to request their support of allocating the funds to the playground.

Cambridgeport parent Elizabeth Liss initiated the petition which was presented at the CPA August meeting. Ms. Liss stated, “As a Cambridgeport School parent I am thrilled to learn that the City has allocated funds to rebuild our playground. The space is a vital part of our school and the community it serves, and it is gratifying to know that the voices of parents and neighbors were heard and respected. A huge thanks to Mayor Maher and Principal Charner-Laird and Community Preservation Act Committee members for coming together in a positive way.

Cambridgeport Principal Katie Charner-Laird is thrilled that her school will be the recipient of these funds, “Cambridgeport families are so grateful that the city has taken on this project of renovating the playground. Our student body shifted in age pretty dramatically a few years ago, and now more than half of our students are under the age of six.” says Charner-Laird, “The current playground is outdated and also isn’t designed for younger children. We are all excited to engage in a community process to help design a playground that works for everyone. A playground is a true gift of childhood, and we thank all who worked so hard to bring this particular playground into the spotlight.

I look forward to working with the community to make the Cambridgeport School playground an amazing place for its students. We have a great model with the Haggerty School redesign that we can use to help inform the process.” Says Cambridge School Committee co-chair Fred Fantini, “Cambridge does a wonderful job responding to its citizens and their needs and this project is no exception.

Sept 30, 2014The Cambridge Planning Board tonight voted unanimously to grant the Special Permits for the Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment. [Cambridge Chronicle story by Sara Feijo]

Alewife development gets the OK; Developer and city still at odds over parking

Oct 7, 2014 – The Cambridge Planning Board approved unanimously a series of special permits to convert the parking lot at 88 Cambridgepark Drive in North Cambridge into a large mixed-use complex. [Cambridge Chronicle story by Sara Feijo]

Voter Registration and Absentee Ballots for the State Election, November 4, 2014

The State Election will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. For Cambridge residents not already registered, the last day to register to vote is Wednesday, October 15, 2014 until 8:00pm. The polls will be open on Election Day from 7:00am until 8:00pm.

Absentee Ballots are now available at the Cambridge Election Commission office. Any voter who is unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to physical disability, religious belief, or absence from the City may request an Absentee Ballot from the Commission. The deadline to apply for an Absentee Ballot is Monday, November 3, 2014 at Noon. Absentee Ballots may be mailed to voters, or such voters may choose to vote at the Commission office during regular city office hours: Monday, 8:30am-8:00pm; Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am-5:00pm; Friday, 8:30am-Noon. The office will also be open for Absentee Voting on Friday, October 31st from 8:30am until 5:00pm and on Saturday, November 1st from 9:00am until 5:00pm.

For any additional information, please visit the Cambridge Election Commission office at 51 Inman Street, call (617-349-4361) or visit our website at

Corinne Espinoza Appointed as Cambridge Community Center Interim Executive Director

Oct 13, 2014 – The Cambridge Community Center (CCC) has appointed Corinne Espinoza, a resident of Cambridge, Mass., as Interim Executive Director.

Corinne EspinozaEspinoza is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the CWD Harvard Leadership Development Program, and brings with her two decades of professional and volunteer experience. Her professional competencies include accounting and finance, change management, process improvement, project management, administration, hiring, staff development, and building management and procurement.

She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Prior to assuming her new position, Corinne served as a member of the Board of Directors at the Community Center, where she was also a member of the organization’s Budget and Finance Committee.

"I care deeply for the Cambridge Community Center and I am thrilled to serve as Interim Executive Director," says Espinoza. "Thanks to years of involvement with the CCC, I know the importance of the resources it provides to this community. This is an opportunity to dedicate myself to work that engages my mind, heart and spirit," she says.

"As a member of our Board of Directors, Corinne has been a dedicated and passionate voice in support of the CCC for many years. She has proven to be a strong asset and I look forward to her continued contributions in her new leadership role," said Lindsey Thorne-Bingham, President, CCC Board of Directors.

Located in the Riverside neighborhood of Cambridge, between Central Square and Memorial Drive, the Cambridge Community Center has been serving the community for more than 85 years. Today its mission is to promote community cooperation and unity, and empower youth, individuals and families by offering social, cultural, educational, and recreational activities. Find out more at

Main Street Water Main Lining, Tues, Oct 14 through Thurs, Oct 16 – Night Work

On Tuesday, October 14, crews will begin the process of lining the water main on Main St. from Ames St. to Wadsworth St. The work is being performed at night due to the necessary water shutdowns associated with the lining operation. All impacted properties have been notified.

On Tuesday evening, crews will line the main from Ames St to the Kendall MBTA Station. Ames St. at Main St. will be closed on Tuesday starting at 8pm, and will reopen once crews clear intersection. On Wednesday evening, October 15, crews will line the main from the Kendall MBTA station to Wadsworth St. (Ames St. will be open during this phase). We expect the operation to take two nights to complete, however crews may be onsite Thursday evening if necessary. Work hours on Tuesday and Wednesday will be 6pm to 6am. We don’t anticipate the lining to be noise intensive, however there will be noise from the generators onsite and crews will need to utilize additional lighting.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding this work.

Kelly Dunn
Community Relations Manager, Cambridge Department of Public Works
147 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
T: 617-349-4870 F: 617-349-4814

Affordable Rental and Homeownership Programs Information Session – Monday, October 20

The City of Cambridge will be holding a series of free, Walk-In Informational Sessions on affordable rental and homeownership programs at different locations in the coming months. The next session will be held Monday, Oct 20, from 6-8pm, at the Putnam Gardens Community Room, 64 Magee St., Cambridge. Housing personnel from the Community Development Department will be available to discuss the city’s affordable rental and homeownership programs.

For more information, please contact us at 617-349-4622.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Committees Seeking New Members

Are you interested in transportation infrastructure, education, and safety? The City of Cambridge invites interested persons to apply to become members of the Bicycle or Pedestrian Committees.

City of Cambridge sealBicycle Committee
This committee works to improve conditions for bicyclists in the City of Cambridge and to promote bicycling as a means of transportation. Activities include organizing and participating in public events, such as biannual community bike rides; reviewing plans for road construction; commenting on proposed development projects; creating promotional materials to encourage bicycling in the city; and working with City departments on network planning. This committee generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway.

Pedestrian Committee
This committee works to promote walking and to help create a more comfortable, safe, and pleasant environment for walking in Cambridge. It advises on the design of roadway projects and policies related to traffic calming, traffic signals, and sidewalk design. It also identifies intersections and other locations where it is difficult to walk, makes suggestions about proposed development projects as they affect people on foot, and undertakes other activities to promote walking. The committee creates and leads fun walking tours for the public. This committee generally meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway. (November and December meetings are on the third Thursday.)

How to Apply
Applications are sought from dedicated individuals who live or work in Cambridge. Members are expected to attend monthly meetings as well as engage in projects outside of regular meetings. To apply, please prepare a cover letter indicating which committee you are interested in, a description of your interest in the topic, and any specific issues you would like to contribute time to working on. Please be sure to include your home mailing address, phone number, and email. Send your application to:

Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
c/o Diane Bongiorno
Community Development Department
344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

Application Deadline – Friday, October 31, 2014
Appointments are made by the City Manager and are for two years of service. For more information, call 617/349-4600.

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