Friends of the Community Path meeting -- Minutes, November 13, 2001
Place: 112 Belmont St. Apt #2
Members attending: Joel Bennett, Turil Cronburg, John Mann, Lynn Weissman, Tim Maher, Kindra Crick, Bob Kindel, Ron Newman
(others attended but were not noted in minutes)
1. Jennifer Hill from Groundworks Somerville came to speak to the group. Groundworks Somerville was founded by National park service in December 1999.
It started in the UK, and works in partnership with other local groups to promote open space and green areas. They believe that urban environments need as much work as rural areas.
Jennifer briefly described the 5 areas of work which the organization does:
In recent months they have worked with the Garden Club, spruced up the Cedar Street end of the existing Bike Path, taken care of the Walnut Street plantings, and organized public flower bulb plantings. They are also working with the high school to renovate the courtyard.
Groundworks Somerville believes that the Community Path is extremely important for Somerville, and would like to help the Friends of the Community Path in whatever way makes the most sense. Joel wondered if the Friends of the Path group should donate funds to Groundworks Somerville to help finance a part time paid employee to work on the path extension. Jennifer also mentioned that there are programs designed to clean up brownfields, and that the proposed bike path location from Cedar to Lowell Street is a brownfield.
There was a question about Groundworks Somerville working with kids on the Community Path, perhaps doing landscape maintenance.
There was a question about the McGrath O'Brian highway becoming a parkway again.
Jennifer mentioned that she had not communicated with anyone at the Somerville Charter School about possible plans for redevelopment, which might affect the path. There was another question about nearby land being used to develop new housing.
Jennifer suggested that someone from the Friends of the Path group should attend the Somerville Grantwriter's Luncheon, organized by Dennis Fishman, in order to introduce ourselves. Jennifer also mentioned that the Federal Government gives out CDB (Community Development Block) grants. It is up to Somerville to decide how to distribute the $3.5-4 million funds. There is meeting tomorrow night at the library to make this decision, Jennifer thinks that there is a chance that the Friends of the Path could get a grant. Lynn volunteered to attend.
2. Joel mentioned that there is now a feasible way to end the path at Woodbine and Center Streets. There is a potential, legal terminus there, and that means that we can push the city to get design funding for that segment of the path. Joel will e-mail Rizzo Associates and cc Jeff Levine from the Office for Housing and Community Development concerning the cost of the design for this segment. There was a question as to whether or not the Community Development Block Grants could be used for this purpose. There was a mention that some of the land under the Lowell Street bridge is wetlands. Joel volunteered to call the Conservation Committee about this. Also the Cambridge Health Alliance has abandoned plans to redevelop the parking lot behind the VNA
3. Bob spoke with Moore Dodge, the Dean of the Charter School and discovered that he was very excited about the path. He is willing to write letters of support for the project. He also had never heard of any plans for the school to use the abandoned rail right of way as an access road, and they are not planning on doing any development at the moment as they are unable to fund it. There was some discussion about making a formal path to Lowell Street, allowing legal access to the school.
4. John said that Maureen apologized not being able to attend tonight's meeting
5. Tim made posters in two sizes. He is still working on them. He is also working on writing a press release. It should be tied in with open space and Tom Birmingham.
6. There was a discussion as to whether or not collecting more postcards is a worthwhile way to get more funding.
7. Joel mentioned that OHCD department needs to be told by the city to make the development of the path a priority. Steve Post is the immediate person in charge of the office.
8. The Friends of the Path should approach local businesses for letters of support and for funding. There was a question as to whether or not the Friends group could raise, and pay for, the initial $30,000 design cost. There seemed to be an agreement that this was a serious possibility.
9. The website has been officially moved off of the MassBike site, and now resides on Joel and Lynn's RCN account. Kindra would like more pictures for the site.
10.Action items summary:
Bob, Jessie, and Lynn -- will draft a standard letter requesting support.
Joel -- will send out draft to the core group to look at. This can then be sent to local businesses or politicians. There is still some discussion to be done as to how best to use the letters.
Bob -- will work on contacting businesses, but he would like people to help generate a list of potential businesses we should start with.
Joel -- volunteered to start such a list and forward it to the core group for additions and comments.
Ron -- volunteered to call the city and find out how the group can get listed in the Somerville at a Glance booklet, and the Chamber of Commerce book.
Bob Lanford -- will help Joel with the computer
Joel -- will e-mail Kindra the address for Lee Mandel, at SAC, so that the Friends group can get a link on their website.
Kindra -- will also try to get a link on Town-Online, the Mystic View site, and the city of Somerville's official site.
Joel and Marlena -- will work on the 501 C3 application, and the CPA who is helping the group will work on it when we have the preliminary information filled out. Someone suggested that we should look at a successful application to understand what works.
All -- There is a Mass Highway/Lowell Street Bridge meeting on 12/6/01 in the Alderman's Chambers. The group should be represented, and draft a letter to alert them to the path's existence. Joel, Turil, Lynn, and Ron volunteered to attend. The group's priorities are to recommend that the bridges are redone in a similar way to the existing width and height. Narrow corridors under the bridges are dark and unsafe. Also there should be accommodations for a ramp intersecting the path and the bridge.
11. Next Meeting: Monday, December 10, 7:00 PM.
The meeting will take place at 112 Belmont St., Apt #2
“To Lechmere ..... and beyond !! “