City Council Updates & Events (1/15 through 1/21/17)

We do not have a City Council meeting on Monday because of the holiday, but I hope to see many of you at the MLK Day events in Central Square (see below). There’s lots going all week. Here are a few updates. (If you would like to receive these updates by email, please let me know at and I’ll add you to the list.)

Affordable housing planned on Concord Avenue
I attended the community meeting about the affordable housing development at 671-75 Concord Avenue (near Smith Place) that Homeowner’s Rehab, a non-profit developer, is planning. The 98-unit building will offer 32 1-BR, 45 2-BR and 21 3-BR units to low, moderate and lower-middle income tenants. It’s an attractive, thoughtfully designed building that will help serve a great need in our community. Preview the designs here.

Advocate for all public libraries…and to build one in the Quad
I attended a community breakfast for legislators organized by Liz Soeiro, the Cambridgeport School librarian and a founder of the summer Book Bike program, to highlight the acute funding challenges that all public libraries face. The state budget allocation is down sharply, and some libraries may have to cut critical services like access to databases. Members of the Cambridge delegation who attended the breakfast were Rep. Marjorie Decker, Rep. Jay Livingstone and Sen. Joe Boncore. Please reach out to other state elected officials to stress the importance of restoring library funding to prior years’ levels. Read more about the funding deficit.

At the breakfast it was stated that Cambridge is committed to having a public library branch within walking distance of every resident. Now that multifamily residential development is transforming the Alewife “Quad” area off Concord Avenue, a library/community center should be a top planning priority. It would serve the Highlands neighborhood and the Alewife “Triangle” as well, once a pedestrian bridge over the RR tracks connects the two sides of Alewife.

Apply to join the City Manager’s Advisory Committee
Our new city manager is forming a new committee to discuss and advise on issues. Apply by 2/17. More about the committee.

Harvard Square Update
Last week’s hearings on the &pizza application were postponed. There is another vacancy on Church Street (Free People left) and the cafe at Burdick’s is briefly closed for renovations (but the chocolate store remains open). From now to early March, there are special Winter Carnival events in Harvard Square (see the schedule here.) And visit the Winter Farmers Market at Charles Square on Fridays and Sundays (10am-6pm).

Inman Square Redesign Update
Heads up: There will be a public meeting to preview the design options for the Inman Square intersection improvement project on Tues., 1/24 from 6-8pm at Cambridge Hospital. Come weigh in on how to improve safety for all users. Construction on the final design would start this fall.

Noteworthy public events and hearings this week: 

Sat., 1/14, 8:00-10:00pm, Harvard Sanders Theater (45 Quincy St.)
Joyful Noise! Harlem Gospel Choir Concert. Tickets $15-30.

Sun., 1/15, 1:00-2:30pm, Mount Auburn Cemetery, (580 Mt Auburn St.)
Mount Auburn Cemetery Lecture: Underground Railroad. In honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday, this program will explore Mount Auburn Cemetery’s connection to the Underground Railroad. Free.

Sun., 1/15, 5:00-11:00pm, Ryles Jazz Club (212 Hampshire St.)
Dance party and raffle benefit for the Fire Relief Fund. Tickets $20. First responders, fire victims and kids under 10 free. All proceeds will be donated to the fire fund.

Mon., 1/16, MLK Day Holiday
City Hall will be closed for regular business and the City Council will not meet. 
MLK Day Annual Commemoration and Remembrance. 11:00am, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (838 Mass Ave.), followed by a lunch gathering from 12:45-1:45pm. Rep. Katherine Clark is the guest speaker.
7th Annual MLK Day of Service. 
2:00-5:00pm, Various locations in Central Square. Please join me and hundreds of volunteers of all ages to make Valentine’s Day cards for seniors and fleece scarves and toiletry kits for the homeless. And don’t come empty-handed: we will be collecting and sorting donated food, winter clothing and children’s books. Register here.

Tues., 1/17, 3:00-5:00pm, City Hall (795 Mass Ave.)
Human Services and Veterans Committee hearing to discuss the Homelessness Task Force, the creation of a Homelessness Trust Fund and sobering centers, an emergency cold weather plan, and how the City works with homeless enclaves, such as the Rt. 2/Rt. 16 intersection.

Tues., 1/17, 7:00-10:00pm, City Hall Annex (344 Broadway)
Planning Board and Redevelopment Authority joint meeting on the Kendall Sq MXD infill project. Continuation of the hearing on a medical marijuana dispensary at 110 Fawcett St.

Weds., 1/18, 6:00-8:00pm, City Hall (795 Mass Ave.)
Meeting to hear an update on the renovation at 859 Mass Ave. The City plans to convert this building, formerly the Chamber of Commerce office, into a YWCA family shelter. The current YWCA shelter is nearby on Bigelow St. and will be repurposed to city offices.

Weds., 1/18, 6:30-8:30pm, WBGH Theater (1 Guest St., Brighton)
MassDOT public meeting on the Mass Pike Toll Plaza Demolition and the project’s next stages.

Thurs., 1/19, 5:30-8:30pm, 2 Education Circle.
Glocal Challenge Finals. CRLS student teams will present their projects to reduce and repurpose food waste. The winning team will go to the Glocal Leadership Summit in Italy.

Thurs., 1/19, 6:00-8:00pm, Water Treatment Plant (Fresh Pond)
Fresh Pond Master Plan Advisory Board meeting to discuss landscaping and drainage projects and lighting on the planned DCR Greenway multi-use path.

Thurs., 1/19, 7:00-9:00pm, Central Square Branch Library (45 Pearl St.)
MassDOT public meeting on the I-90 Realignment Project.

Fri., 1/20, 7:00-9:00pm, CRLS Fitzgerald Theater.
Orchestra, Band, Chorus, and Percussion Ensemble Concert.

Sat., 1/21, 10:00am-1:30pm, Peabody School Gym (70 Rindge Ave.)
Winter Family Fun Day for children up to age 8.

Sat., 1/21, 11:00am-3:00pm, Boston Common
Boston Women’s March. Elizabeth Warren, Maura Healey and Marty Walsh will speak. Tweet #WomensMarch and #MarchingShoes.

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Jan Devereux
City Councillor
Cambridge, MA