February 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 7:00pm


  • Slate Building
  • Just-A-Start
  • Green Cambridge
  • Ears to the Ground

Slate Building

Brad Richards and Jeff Hirsch from Urban Spaces reviewed progress and schedule and took questions. All Cambridge soil is contaminated to some degree with substances such as lead, arsenic, and antimony. Remediation requires shipping it to a lined landfill site. This took a longer than expected due to limits on how much material the sites are willing to accept per day. The Eversource transformer (300-400KVA) will be to the right of the garage entrance, set back from the sidewalk and screened by bushes. No vault is necessary. The structural steel is up and they expect 38 modular boxes to arrive the second of March. Hoisting them into place should take 5-7 working days, during which Allen street will be closed next to the site. They hope to be finished by the end of June. They are planning to call the new building "The Rand", with addresses at 1975 Mass Ave and 5 Allen Street. There will be 20 residential units (2 affordable), plus one single family house at the back. The business model has shifted from rental to condominium. Ground floor retail will be managed by Stone River.


Daniel Lander (an AmeriCorps Fellow) presented Just-A-Start and its Home Improvement program. AmeriCorps is a public/private organization promoting civic service. The current focus, at least in Cambridge, is affordable housing. The Home Improvement Program arranges very low interest loans and helps find contractors for eligible low-income homeowners to improve accessibility, add units, and do abatement. It currently has spare capacity.

Green Cambridge

Green Cambridge is an environmental advocacy non-profit working to promote sustainability and environmental awareness in Cambridge. President Quinton Zondervan presented their vision for responding to climate change and natural environment destruction. Most recently they published a set of ambitious goals entitled Cambridge 2030, including reaching zero net greenhouse gas impact (this includes energy consumption) and insuring that all new buildings will be solar-ready. They are reaching out to community organizations like PSNA and asking for endorsements.

Ears to the Ground

We discussed the spring cleanup and assigned various tasks. Date is still TBD, but planned time is 9:30-11:30. Susan will contact DPW about picking up full trash bags. John will contact Lesley and the shopping center, will retrieve the donated brooms, gloves, and bags from storage, and will send out a message. Ruth will contact St James's, Lesley, Christophers, and various merchants.