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participatory budgeting

City Beat

City Asks for Participatory Budgeting Ideas

It’s time to speak up if you have big dreams of sprucing up the city. Cambridge has allotted $1,000,000 to spend on “capital projects to improve the community” in the sixth annual Participatory Budgeting cycle and is asking residents to propose project ideas, according to a press release. Proposals are due July 31, and then volunteer budget delegates will winnow them down to a list of finalists before the community votes on winners in December.

City Plans to Rename Streets and Buildings that Commemorate Slavery

Think those historic street and building names scrawled across the city are harmless? Think again. Locals who played a role in the slave trade have been memorialized on street signs and building names, the Cambridge Chronicle reports, but City Council members are determined to make a change. The council tasked the Civic Unity Committee with investigating site names with ties to slavery and eventually renaming the landmarks. “Why, in 2019, are we continuing to enshrine the names of people who made their fortune off selling people into slavery?” City Councilor Denise Simmons asked, according to the Chronicle. 

Officials Outline Goals through 2030

After three years of planning, city officials have published an extensive outline of goals for the city’s future, the Cambridge Chronicle reports. “Envision Cambridge” spans 214 pages and serves as a “roadmap” through the year 2030. The plan includes dozens of recommended strategies aimed at goals including environmental awareness, “community wellbeing,” and economic growth. One of the most notable goals of “Envision Cambridge” is reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

City Council Supports Changing State Flag

Following concerns from residents, the City Council voted in favor of a state bill that would form a commission to redesign the state flag, the Cambridge Patch reports. The image on the flag of Myles Standish—known for his role in the foundation of Plymouth Colony and his “brutality toward the native peoples”—brandishing his sword over a Native American is making many people uncomfortable. “It is an expired declaration of war,” Cambridge resident Joaquin told the Patch regarding the state flag and seal. A redesign of the state seal has been endorsed by 30 municipalities, WBUR reports.

City Expands Curbside Compost

After composting 1,900 tons of food remains and reducing trash in the city by seven percent, the city will expand its curbside composting efforts to include residential buildings with at least 13 units this fall, according to the city. Citywide composting is a key element of the Zero Waste Master Plan, which aims to reduce 30 percent of citywide trash by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Community Wellness

Porter Square
Planet Fitness Offers Free Summer Memberships to Teens

Even though gym class may be over for the year, now is a better time than ever for teens to break a sweat. From May 15 through Sept. 1, the Planet Fitness gym in Porter Square—along with 68 other Massachusetts locations and Planet Fitness gyms across the country—will offer free access to teenagers through its “Teen Summer Challenge,” the Cambridge Patch reports. “We want to give teens the chance to stay active when school is out … which is why we’re offering a safe space to exercise for free and spend time with their friends all summer long,” Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau told the Patch.

City Aims to Clean Up Land Surrounding Jerry’s Pond

Local officials are getting creative with their efforts to clean up the city this summer. Determined to find a bright side after learning that Jerry’s Pond was ineligible for a grant that could have helped with restoration efforts, City Council members voted in favor of investigating the possibility of upgrading the land at the perimeter of the pond, the Cambridge Chronicle reports. Additions to the site—such as benches, new trees, and signs and kiosks identifying the site and providing historical information—would complement other city initiatives that have aimed to improve the cleanliness of the area, Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui told the Chronicle.

This story originally appeared in the Technology & Transportation Issue issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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