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|Craig Kelley for Cambridge City Council in 2015|
|Because Neighborhoods Count|
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. . . the current administration's inability to effectively plan for or communicate with Cambridge neighborhoods . . .
City should listen to the residents
The recent controversy regarding the disposition of the city-owned VFW hall on North Mass Ave is yet one more illustration of the current administration's inability to effectively plan for or communicate with Cambridge neighborhoods. While the City Council has repeatedly stressed that the hall, vacant for several years and badly in need of repairs, should be used for affordable housing "and/or" other uses such as a veterans' center, the City administration has only investigated affordable housing uses, with a small public space attached.
Numerous people have complained that the City's affordable housing planners have not listened to their concerns at the (poorly advertised) meetings the City has held thus far concerning the Hall. Among seniors, in particular, there are strong feelings that they are being both bullied and ignored. Clearly the City has not learned from the library siting process, the North Mass Ave redesign process, the 2525 Mass Ave project, the Fitzgerald School rehabilitation or any of a number of other fiascoes that it shouldn't just force something down a neighborhood's throat, no matter how good its intentions.
City owned space is a valuable commodity anywhere in Cambridge. This particular parcel could be used as affordable housing, an extension of the neighboring senior center, a multi-user community and arts center, or some combination of the above. All of these uses, as well as others not listed, would provide important neighborhood benefits and all deserve open, honest consideration.