East Cambridge is at the opposite end of town from Fresh Pond (yet only 4 miles away), but the future of the Sullivan Courthouse should concern residents of all neighborhoods — as should the future of Concord-Alewife area. Neighborhoods are not islands, though we may actually become islands if over-development along the Mystic River floodway continues unchecked. We are all connected. We are all stakeholders in the planning process. We must overcome our natural tendency to pay attention only when the threat is in our own backyard.
One step in the right direction: City Councillors Dennis Carlone, Marc McGovern, Tim Toomey and Dennis Mazen have co-sponsored a policy order “strongly encouraging DCAMM* and the developer to work together in an expeditious and creative fashion to substantially reduce the height, traffic, and environmental impacts of the developer’s proposal so as to gain community support and resolve the great uncertainty that now surrounds the project.”
The four Councillors are showing leadership in heeding the public outcry over the scale of Legatt McCall’s proposed Courthouse redevelopment, which had seemed to be a done deal until the newly formed Neighborhood Association of East Cambridge built a coalition and pushed back effectively. There’s a valuable lesson in this for our nascent group.
The Balkanization of Cambridge has served the status quo quite well, but the time has come for a new citywide master plan. The last plan dates to 1993 — before rent control ended and before email took off. Our world has changed radically since ’93, yet the city’s plan remains frozen in the era of snail mail and land lines.
Join us for our first open forum for change on Monday, March 24th at 7 PM at the Tobin School. See details.
*DCAMM is the Commonwealth’s Division of Capital Management and Maintenance, which has been charged with disposing of the Courthouse as “abandoned” state property.