January Monthly Meeting Update

At the January 3rd ECBA monthly meeting hosted by Vinfen, ECBA members were joined by John Pelletier of the City of Cambridge’s CitySmart Program and representatives from the State’s Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM).

CitySmart is a program designed to encourage the use of more sustainable transportation for all kinds of trips. It was a three year grant funded program and just finished up in East Cambridge. John shared the results of the surveys and the information gathered during his time working within the East Cambridge neighborhood.  This is the third year of the program and by far showed the most successful results.  The survey reached 17% of East Cambridge households and showed that residents are very in tune with the transportation options around us. John will be posting the full report on their web page in the coming days. 

Some interesting information for ECBA to consider is that the most popular events participants would most likely attend in their neighborhood are; themed walks (63%), support local business events (47%), Park/neighborhood cleanups (44%), community meeting on neighborhood improvements (39%) or transportation improvements (38%), and general neighborhood walks or themed bike rides (both 34%).  We have already hosted  many of the mentioned events, so its encouraging to see a strong desire to have the continue and hopefully evolve into larger neighborhood events.

The Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM) approached the ECBA in order to reach the business community and solicit feedback on the future of the Sullivan Courthouse.  We were joined by Commissioner Carole Cornelison and Acting Deputy Commissioner Dana Harrell who explained the process currently underway.  Having no interest in reuse of the building in state or local government , DCAM is seeking requests for proposals for the property.  They stated that world wide interest has been shown in the building due to the proximity to Kendall Square. DCAM has hosted three tours of the building and a full list of interested parties having taken a tour is posted on their website.

Many ECBA members expressed concerns about how the building will blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, how parking would be handled by new owners, and overall building appearance.  DCAM felt that an active ground floor use could be achieved through the sale process and by working with the City and city’s zoning  process.  It was also noted that a complimentary use to that of the nearby Multicultural Arts Center may be beneficial as well as a desire to see the building’s outer skin upgraded to something more attractive.

RFP’s are due at the beginning of February and a proposal should be selected some time in June.

ECBA will continue to monitor this project and hopes to communicate concerns and ideas with DCAM.  We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments with us as we can relay them to DCAM for consideration.

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