$22.6M nets 48 units, food-pantry space, set-asides for homeless
The Housing Corporation of Arlington, a nonprofit in transition, held a ribbon-cutting for two projects, years in the making, that are expected to result in 48 units of housing described as affordable and 2,500 square feet of community food-pantry space.
Five of the housing units are set aside for the homeless who will receive subsidies and services from the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the HSA says. Funding for the projects totaled $22.6 million when it was approved in 2019.
The name of the project -- the Downing Square Broadway Initiative -- combines two town locations, one in East Arlington and one near the Heights.
UPDATED Dec. 2: The town Zoning Board of Appeals has approved, 5-0, the permit for the proposed development of Thorndike Place -- a key step for the long-stalled housing plan for the 17-acre Mugar site near Route 2.
But the unanimous vote comes with a lengthy series of conditions to which the developer, Oaktree Development of North Cambridge, must adhere. View the final decision here >>
For a summary of the Monday, Nov. 22, session, see meeting notes by Steve Revilak, who is an associate board member and did not vote in this matter. He provides these notes as a public service.
The board has been meeting since April about the permit for the project, first proposed in 2015 and opposed by town officials from the start, largely because of flooding and traffic.
Down at 22 Academy St., AFD Theatre is abuzz with activity. There are just a couple rehearsals left before opening night, and it’s time to work out the final kinks. The technical crew are running through their light and sound cues, while Charlotte Kelley, the props and set dresser, is adding final touches.
“Most people don’t realize how many people it takes to put on a show,” said Ginger Webb, Arlington resident and co-production manager. “More than a dozen people worked to build and paint the set. Volunteers made the drapes and pillows, and even reupholstered an old Victorian couch to match the dark themes of the set.”
Another dozen volunteers are in charge of costumes, hair and makeup, publicity, box office, refreshments, lights, sound, ushering and set design. “Only the director and stage manager get a modest stipend. For everyone else, it’s a labor of love,” she said.
UPDATED Nov. 29: Nearly three weeks after a public presentation of the town's draft plan for housing, town officials have released to the public a full draft of the housing plan on Monday, Nov. 29.
The draft is for public review and comment. The five-year plan replaces the town’s 2016 Housing Production Plan, which expires this month.
Informed by data, research, and community engagement, the plan shares a vision and specific ways that Arlington can lead on providing housing options for a range of people. The plan includes a comprehensive housing needs assessment, affordable housing goals, and outlines strategies for how to achieve those goals through policy and zoning changes, new programs and funding sources.
UPDATED Nov. 30: Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine updated the Select Board on Nov. 22 about the lack of safety-improvement progress on the Chestnut Street/Mystic Avenue intersection, where resident Ann B. Desrosiers was struck and fatally injured on Dec. 31, 2019.
“In July, MassDOT [Massachusetts Department of Transportation] approved our recommendations, and on July 22 we formally presented MassDOT those plans,” Chapdelaine said.
MassDOT must approve this project.
“After several months of not hearing back, the town engineer followed up with MassDOT on Nov. 9, who then asked the town to resubmit its plans. On Nov. 16, MassDOT said they’ll review and respond, so we’re now back on MassDOT’s radar,” explained Chapdelaine.
“I spoke with our state representative Sean Garballey. MassDOT is reviewing the materials, and once they review them, we’ll hear back.
To commemorate its 100th anniversary, Arlington BSA Scouts Troop 306 recently installed and dedicated a handcrafted picnic table to Magnolia Park (at left).
Weighing more than 600 pounds and spanning 12 feet, the table is crafted from a Dawn Redwood that was removed by the own as part of the Magnolia Park renovation and expansion of the community garden in 2017.
The idea for the table stemmed from a Troop 306 Eagle Scout project discussion with the Parks and Recreation Department about possible project ideas.
Dishing up some Arlington restaurant-related news morsels:
UPDATED Nov. 23: Twyrl in Broadway Plaza, known for its pasta dishes, is closely permanently Dec. 16.
Owners Anka and Chris write on the restaurant's website: https://twyrlpasta.com/ "We have struggled with this prospect for many months and have decided not to renew our lease."
Their statement cites a "multitude of factors ... none more challenging than the breakdown of the supply chain. This has caused the cost of goods and services to soar, making the prospect of committing to a long-term lease far too great a risk in the face of future economic uncertainty and instability."
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