Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

January 21, 2019

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – Jan 21, 2019

Foundry Property Management RFP — Seeking Responses!

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA), in partnership the Lemelson-MIT Program (a leader in the Foundry Consortium), is seeking Proposals for Property Management Services for the Foundry.City Seal

Later this year, the Foundry site will start construction…and before too long, we will have a vibrant community center for creativity and collaboration, buzzing with programs!

Therefore, the CRA is now seeking a property management firm. The successful respondent will be offered a two-part contract to provide consulting services to the CRA during the design and construction phases of the Foundry, and to provide property management services to the Foundry Consortium once the building is operational.

The full RFP can be downloaded from the CRA website, where we will also post addenda as needed: www.cambridgeredevelopment.org/jobs-contracting

There will be a site visit for interested parties on January 23rd at 10:00am. RFP responses are due on Thursday, February 14, 2019 by 4:00pm.

Interested parties are encouraged to register their interest before they apply by emailing Erica Schwarz at eschwarz@cambridgeredevelopment.org.


Call for Cambridge Artists: Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest
Winners Will Receive Prize Money and Artwork Will Be Displayed in Vacant Storefront Windows

Jan 3, 2019 – The City of Cambridge invites local artists to submit their work to the Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest. The program, designed by the Community Development Department and Cambridge Arts, aims to energize neighborhoods by filling empty store windows with reproductions of locally-made art.City Seal

Five finalists, chosen through a jury and public voting process, will each be awarded a one-time honorarium of $1,000. These winning designs will be available for Cambridge property owners to print and display in vacant ground-floor storefronts throughout the city.

“The City’s Retail Strategy Plan identified vacant storefront activation as a key recommendation for enhancing Cambridge’s retail environment,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development. “This contest is a unique opportunity for local artists to make our commercial districts more vibrant and engaging.”

“In Cambridge, we’re always looking for opportunities for our artists and businesses to partner—from the Central Square Mural Project and the Central Square Cultural District to our Creative Marketplace Exhibitions program,” said Jason Weeks, Executive Director of Cambridge Arts. “The Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest is another way the arts can make our city a more dynamic and engaging place to live, work, and explore.”

Artwork must be uploaded to an online submissions form by Friday, Feb 8, 2019 at noon. Original artwork—from paintings and prints to photographs and graphic designs—must be formatted into a digital, high-resolution PDF file that can be printed to paper or vinyl and is adaptable to a variety of window sizes. Designs must be original and not infringe on any copyrighted material.

Semi-finalists, chosen by a jury, will be announced in February 2019, followed by a public vote to help determine finalists. The five finalists will be announced in March 2019, with installations expected later in the spring.

For more information about the contest’s submission and selection process, visit www.cambridgema.gov/StorefrontContest.


Cambridge Community Electricity Program to Fund Development of Local Solar Project, Provide Savings to Consumers
The City’s new contract with Direct Energy will increase local renewable energy production and provide lower electricity rates than Eversource Basic Service.

The Cambridge Community Electricity Program is launching a new model for using the City’s electricity aggregation to directly create more local renewable electricity. Effective January 15, 2019, the program will collect a small amount of money, $0.002/kWh, from all participants as part of their regular electricity bill, which will be used to fund a new local solar project. Once built, the solar project will provide green electricity to everyone enrolled in the Cambridge Community Electricity Program.City Seal

The new program model is made possible through a 24-month electricity supply contract with Direct Energy. This contract offers new program prices that are fixed from January 2019 through January 2021. Participants in the Standard Green option will receive greener electricity than available through Eversource Basic Service by supporting the new local solar project. The Standard Green price will change to 11.12 cents/kWh, which is lower than Eversource’s January 2019 through June 2019 residential price of 13.704 cents/kWh.

The previous 100% Green option is now the new and improved 100% Green Plus option, which current 100% Green participants will be automatically enrolled in. 100% Green Plus participants will continue to receive 100% renewable electricity through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from existing renewable energy projects in New England and will receive additional solar electricity from the local solar project. The 100% Green Plus price will be 11.94 cents/kWh, also less than Eversource’s winter 2019 Basic Service price. Any Cambridge resident or business can opt into 100% Green Plus at any time.

“This innovative model for our Community Electricity Program supports Cambridge’s local economy and furthers our renewable energy goals without having a negative impact on personal finances,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “We are proud to continue pioneering programs that lower the carbon footprint of our community in cost-effective ways.”

Beginning in February 2019, Direct Energy will replace Agera Energy as the supplier listed on Eversource electricity bills. Participants will continue to receive and pay one bill from Eversource, which will be responsible for delivering electricity to Cambridge and for addressing power outages. Those who are eligible for discounts from Eversource will continue to receive the same benefits. Those with solar panels on their property will continue to receive net metering credits, which will be calculated based on the Eversource Basic Service rate, not on the program rate.

Savings cannot be guaranteed for future Eversource rate periods because Eversource’s prices change every 6 months for residential and small business customers and every 3 months for large business customers. Program participation is not required; participants can opt out of the program at any time with no penalty or fee and return to Eversource Basic Service.

All active accounts will be automatically enrolled in the new contract with Direct Energy unless participants choose to opt out. New Eversource electricity accounts in Cambridge will also be automatically enrolled in the program.

To switch between Standard Green or 100% Green Plus enrollment options or to opt out of the program, call Direct Energy at 1-866-968-8065. Cambridge residents and businesses currently enrolled with the Cambridge Community Electricity Program do not need to take any action to continue their enrollment as part of this new program model.

Additional information is available on the program website at www.masspowerchoice.com/cambridge. Questions or comments can be directed to Cambridge Community Electricity program consultants at 1-844-379-9934 or cambridge@masspowerchoice.com.

Launched in July 2017, the Cambridge Community Electricity Program is an electricity aggregation, which uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to negotiate a price and increase the amount of renewable energy in the City’s electricity supply. The City uses a competitive bidding process to choose an electricity supplier for residents and businesses and to secure the best price possible for the community while advancing the City’s sustainability goals.


City of Cambridge Sets Up Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund for Residents Impacted by Jan. 14 Fire on Cambridge and Hunting Streets

Jan 14, 2019 – Today, an early morning four-alarm fire ocurred at 6 Hunting St. and 851/855 Cambridge St. The initial time of the call was at 5:42am, with the fourth alarm being issued at 6:33am. In total, 12 engines, seven ladders, two squads, one rescue, and numerous chief officers and support units were on scene. No serious injuries have been reported, with only minor injuries reported due to falls on the ice.City Seal

In addition to Cambridge Fire Department, fire companies from Somerville, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Waltham, and Watertown aided at the fire scene. Fire companies from several cities and towns, including Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Newton, and Waltham, provided station coverage in Cambridge and responded to numerous unrelated incidents in the city during the fire.

“I want to thank the men and women of the Cambridge Fire Department for their quick action to contain the fire and protect the building exposures in this highly congested neighborhood,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasqaule. “Losing your home and your belongings to a fire is a devastating tragedy, and I know how difficult this time is for the impacted residents. I was proud that our staff and the American Red Cross were able to work with the displaced residents this morning to get them set-up with emergency housing, debit cards, and access to money from the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund. These residents have a long road ahead of them, and the City will continue to be here to assist them as they figure out how to move forward."

The cause of fire is under investigation by the Cambridge Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. As part of that investigation, all residents, property managers, and owners of the buildings involved will be interviewed, and a thorough review of any files, reports, or other relevant information connected to the structures will be conducted.

The Cambridge Fire Department will have no comment on the cause and/or origin of the fire until that investigation is complete.

Support of Impacted Residents
At approximately 8am, the City of Cambridge opened a shelter for impacted residents and neighbors at the Frisoli Youth Center located 61 Willow St.

Staff from the City Manager’s Office, various City departments, Metro Housing Boston, Cambridge Housing Authority, and the American Red Cross assisted displaced residents. The Mayor, Vice Mayor, and numerous City Councillors and School Committee members visited the shelter to speak with the impacted residents.

“The first responders, City staff, local businesses, non-profits, and neighbors who responded quickly and effectively to this morning’s fire deserves our gratitude and praise. They are Cambridge’s strength and pride,” said Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern.

851/855 Cambridge Street is a four-story structure with eight residential units and commercial space, and 6 Hunting Street is a three-story structure with two residential units. In total, 22 individuals in nine units were displaced (1 unit was vacant).

As part of their services, the American Red Cross provided every displaced individual with a $125 debit card for incidental supplies and every household with a $260 debit card for emergency hotel costs. Additionally, the Red Cross will follow each case for up to 45 days, as necessary. Each household will also receive follow-up support from the appropriate housing agency and all relevant City departments.

Additionally, the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund will provide displaced residents with $600 per person with a max of $2,400 per unit. Checks totaling $11,400 from the Disaster Relief Fund will be available to 19 residents tomorrow morning. The remaining three residents are currently out of state. The public can help the impacted families by donating to the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund at www.cambridgema.gov/MayorsDisasterReliefFund. Alternatively, donations can be made in person through the Finance Department’s cashier window at City Hall or mailed to address below:

Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund
c/o Finance Dept.
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139

May 4, 2015

Quatro de Mayo at the Cambridge City Council – May 4, 2015 Agenda Highlights

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge Redevelopment Authority,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:47 am

Quatro de Mayo at the Cambridge City Council – May 4, 2015 Agenda Highlights

News!Here’s a quick look at what’s on deck for Monday. The most significant items are Manager’s Agenda #1-6, the appropriation and loan authorization orders for capital budget items totaling $67,200,000. There’s also an appropriation order of $6,000,000 in Manager’s Agenda #10 "to facilitate necessary initial capital improvements to the Foundry building." After the Public Comment period (and hopefully starting at the scheduled time) there will be a 7:00pm public hearing on a proposal by the City of Cambridge to dispose of a long-term leasehold interest in the Foundry Property at 101 Rogers Street to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and on a request for diminution of the full disposition process.

Here are the big ticket items:

Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $37,750,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City’s Agassiz Neighborhood, Alewife Watershed, Area IV Neighborhood, and Harvard Square areas as well as the Sewer Capital Repairs Program.

Manager’s Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $5,000,000 to provide funds for a Comprehensive Facilities Improvement Plan.

Manager’s Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,600,000 to provide funds for surface improvements to the Harvard Square area including Eliot Street, Eliot Plaza, Brattle Street, and Brattle Plaza.

Manager’s Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $150,000 to provide funds for the purchase and installation of mechanical components to ensure the operational integrity of the elevator at the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility.

Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $15,700,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects including the design and construction for the King Open/Cambridge Street School and Community Complex, roof replacement at the Kennedy Longfellow School, and a new boiler at the Fletcher Maynard Academy.

Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.

Manager’s Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $6,000,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to facilitate necessary initial capital improvements to the Foundry building consistent with City Council Policy Order O-16 adopted on Mar 17, 2014, and to support the reuse of the building according to the vision and objectives identified through a robust community process.

Presumably the following item of Unfinished Business will also be discussed during the 7:00pm hearing on disposition of the Foundry building.

Unfinished Business #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an update on the Foundry Building process, including the City’s plans to collaborate with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (the "CRA") to redevelop the Foundry building in a way that meets the vision and objectives expressed by the City Council and the community.


Manager’s Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a proposed framework for your consideration concerning the goal of setting Cambridge on the trajectory to becoming a "net zero community", with focus on carbon emissions from building operations.

There’s a lot that can be said about this topic, but your homework assignment is to read the report first. It’s available as a Word document, but if you prefer PDFs, try these:

Net Zero Framework (the main report) Appendix E (Greenhouse Gas Reduction)
Appendix A (Best Practices) Appendix F (Solar Potential)
Appendix B (Building Energy) Appendix G (Summary)
Appendix C (Energy Supply) Appendix H (Netzero Task Force members)
Appendix D (Actions) Appendix I (Net Zero Action Plan)

Resolution #6. Congratulations to Patrick W. Barrett III on passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam.   Councillor Toomey

There’s a crowd of us out here in the bleacher seats cheering.


Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Apr 22, 2015 to continue discussion on the incentive zoning study from the Community Development Department.

The recent Nexus Study recommends an increase in the contribution rate "from the current $4.58 to $10-$12 per square foot of new commercial development, expansion of the uses that would be subject to the ordinance, removal of the special permit trigger which currently limits the applicability of the incentive requirements to projects needing certain special permits, elimination of the 2,500 square foot exemption, continuation of the 30,000 square feet building size threshold, maintenance of a uniform housing rate for all uses and continuation of adjustments to the contribution rate by the Consumer Price Index." [You should read the committee report for more detail on what this all means.] Some activists/candidates would like to raise it to $24 per square foot (or even higher), but it’s likely that cooler heads will prevail.

That’s all for now folks. – Robert Winters

January 28, 2014

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 33-34: Discussing Foundry options with guest Rozann Kraus

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 33 with Rozann Kraus (Part 1) – broadcast Jan 28, 2014 at 5:30pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 34 with Rozann Kraus (Part 2) – broadcast Jan 28, 2014 at 6:00pm

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