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September 2010 PSNA Minutes

Porter Square Neighbors Association Meeting Minutes
September 16, 2010

Agenda

  • Single Stream Recycling
  • Kaya Hotel Update
  • Future of PSNA
  • Ears to the Ground

Single Stream Recycling

Randi Mail, Cambridge's recycling coodinator, described the upcoming switch to single stream recycling. As of October 25, Cambridge residents will no longer have to sort their recyclables. Plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, etc. will be able to go all in one container. The city will deliver larger, wheeled toters to all homes, probably following the street sweeping schedule. You can keep your old bins or place them upside down at the curb. For more detail see http://www.cambridgema.gov/recycle

Kaya Hotel Update

Michael McKee updated us on the Kaya hotel project. The operator will be Collegiate Hospitality, who currently manage the Inn at Harvard and the Harvard Square Hotel. After discussions with the contractor, operator, and investors the interior plan has changed from 50 rooms and a 200 seat restaurant to 65 rooms and a 60-80 seat restaurant, intended primarily for hotel guests. This leaves the exterior of the building and the number of parking places unchanged, and reduces peak hour traffic. The Planning Board has already ruled that these changes are minor and do not affect the approved special permit.

Demolition may begin as early as November, but more likely February. Plans call for about 14 months of work.

Future of PSNA

We asked for opinions on how PSNA is doing, what to emphasize, and what we could do differently. We are also looking for new blood in the leadership. Here is some feedback we received:

PSNA's core constituency is long-term residents in both Cambridge and Somerville; renters and short term residents are much less involved. We do best at positive engagement rather than opposition, and have a strong record of providing community input to the cities (mostly Cambridge, but sometimes Somerville.) We've often seen our suggestions adopted as projects evolve. We may or may not take a position on specific issues, but can be useful as a forum even if we don't. It was also suggested that we try strengthening our connection with Davis Square.

Our most valuable contribution is the email list, but the monthly meetings are also useful even if there is no hot issue on the table. Even the most involved members welcome our serving as a conduit of information about events around Porter Square.

As to new leadership, Ruth Ryals has agreed to run for Vice President. With her help, and with greater emphasis on communication rather than confrontation, John Howard is willing to run for President for another year. Margaret Studier finds herself very busy and would welcome a replacement secretary. Mary O'Neill is willing to continue as treasurer. Susan Hunziker will be delighted to retire from the hot seat and find more time to restart her career.

Ears to the Ground

We got a brief update from Seth Goodman about the proposed Beacon Street in Somerville. As Seth is part of a lawsuit, he couldn't say much. The project is still alive but more or less on hold; the time will come when PSNA may need to provide further input to Somerville's planning process.

On Saturday, November 13 at 3 p.m., a staged reading of Bill Doncaster's adaptation of George Higgins's novel "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" at will be presented at The Burren in Davis Square. If you'd like to attend, send mail to afriendofeddie@gmail.com

PSNA approved a gift of $100 to the North Cambridge Senior Center, thanking them for providing us with a place to meet.