What’s New: City Beat

Foundry BuildingRendering courtesy of Cambridge Seven.

Cambridge City Council allocates $30 million for Foundry Building
City councilors voted at the end of October to devote $30 million to redevelop the Foundry Building in East Cambridge, according to The Cambridge Chronicle. The new community center is planned to act as a destination for “science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) activities” while also providing a working space for nonprofits and more. “We need a lot more spaces like this if we’re going to keep the arts alive in our city because the market is failing us,”  Councilor Quinton Zondervan told the Chronicle. “So as a city and as a community, we may have to invest in more projects like this one.”

Elevator completed in Harvard Square MBTA station 
The 35-year-old Harvard Square MBTA elevator was finally replaced this November with a new, $3.8 million replacement, according to The Cambridge Chronicle. The new elevator is 60 percent larger at 30 square feet and with a door width of 3 feet and 6 inches.

Buses replace red line trains for winter months 
In the most recent phase of a project to repair MBTA tracks, signs, and signals, the Red Line train was replaced with shuttle buses from November through December, according to The Cambridge Chronicle. The shuttle buses covered the Red Line path from the Broadway to Kendall/MIT stops while MBTA workers “made upgrades” to Downtown Crossing and Park Street tracks. The MBTA is also planning on adding 252 new cars to Red Line trains by this spring.  

City implements new energy efficiency initiative 
The city partnered with Eversource this November on a new “energy efficiency initiative” as part of Cambridge’s Net Zero Action Plan, according to The Cambridge Chronicle. The initiative, titled the Cambridge Building Energy Retrofit Program, is aimed at providing buildings over 25,000 square feet with “energy-saving improvements” by connecting building owners with facility managers. “Through the program, we are making it easier for large building owners, operators and tenants to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions while saving money and enhancing their operations,” Tilak Subrahmanian, the vice president of energy efficiency for Eversource, told the chronicle.

CambridgeSide Galleria Mall moving forward pending city approval 
The City Council voted this December in favor of zoning regulations that will allow the redevelopment of CambridgeSide Galleria to move forward, according to Curbed Boston. New England Development, the developers of the project, intend to create 575,000 square feet of floor space across multiple buildings that will include a mix of retail space and housing—housing will clock in at 30 percent of the total new floorspace. But it’s unlikely that the project will be finished anytime soon. Curbed Boston reports that construction could take as long as 10 years.

Photo courtesy of City of Cambridge.

City shares results of study looking into “universal” pre-k
The city has been looking into offering publicly-funded education to a younger cohort of kids and announced the results of a study on “universal pre-kindergarten” this December, according to The Cambridge Chronicle. The Cambridge Early Childhood Task Force began investigating extending free education to even younger children began in 2015, and this most recent report found that the project of incorporating kids as young as four years old into publicly-funded education would cost over $20 million annually. 

St. Augustine’s Church receives $50,000 grant from Cambridge Historical Commission
St. Augustine’s African Orthodox Church is getting to work restoring the “siding and original entry” of the building with a second $50,000 grant from the Cambridge Historical Commission, according to The Cambridge Chronicle. OJ Construction began renovations afforded by the first grant in late November. “It takes my breath away to see all the work that the community has done and is doing to support this project,” Ned Eccles, clerk and treasurer of St. Augustine’s, told the chronicle. 

City might add traffic signs for cyclists 
The city council voted in favor of “developing traffic control changes, signage and messaging” to enhance cycler and pedestrian safety this November, according to The Cambridge Chronicle. As a result, city officials are looking into adding new signs to 20 intersections in the city and many officials are calling to increase awareness that cyclists must heed red lights. 

This story appears in the Jan/Feb print issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Cambridge (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

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