Proposed Washington Street development falls short of community vision
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
The recent editorial written by Danny LeBlanc regarding the Somerville Community Corporation’s proposed development at 181 Washington Street describes the project as embodying a shared community vision. Developed alongside Cathartes Private Investments who are proposing a building to replace the adjacent historic Cota Funeral Home at 197 Washington Street, they promise a “thriving neighborhood at the gateway of Union Square” that is a “mixed-income, mixed-use site with community amenities such as public green space and ground floor retail.”
I think it is vitally important to keep people who were born and raised in Somerville as members of this community. Somerville has become a very desirable place to live and will become more so with the addition of the Green Line and the new housing and waterfront park at Assembly Row. As our wonderful community attracts new residents, property values and rents are increasing. And this is making it harder for native Somervillians to continue to live in the city. The number of students in Somerville schools is decreasing in spite of the fact that the quality of the schools has improved. This is a direct result of residents moving further and further away to afford a place to live.
I am writing in support of the Somerville Community Corporation/Cathartes proposal for redevelopment of 181 – 197 Washington Street. I recently moved to Somerville – on Rossmore Street, less than 200 feet from the site – and am attending graduate school at Tufts. I would love to stay here after I graduate in 2015, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford it, especially once the Green Line extension comes in, on what will probably be an entry level, non-profit income.
I was speaking with Gil Barbosa the owner of The Book Shop at Ball Square, and we decided his shop would be a great place for the Ibbetson Street 33 reading. ( June 26 6:30PM) All past and present readers are welcome to come and read from their work. This is our 15th Anniversary, and we have such great poets as Jean Valentine, Cornelius Eady, Kathleen Spivack, Brendan Galvin, Marge Piercy, as well as many others in this issue. The front and back cover art was contributed by Richard Wilhelm, a Ball Square resident. Also this bookstore is a great independent and I hope you will buy books and keep this joint running…Gil tells me he signed a new four year lease.