Tuesday, May 28, 2024

City councillor Ken Reeves will lead a “Red Ribbon Commission on the Delights and Concerns of Central Square” starting next month, the councillor and Mayor David Maher said this week.

The commission is envisioned as a yearlong effort to take an in-depth look at the quality of life in Central Square and the future commercial viability of the Square, Reeves said. It will meet once a month and will have subcommittees that will be assigned specific tasks.

The commission — similar to one Reeves led in 1993, resulting in a $3.5 million improvement plan — follows months of debate and discussion about the square’s struggles, including a 400-person survey taken last year to set a wish list for the area, city-organized public forums and the creation of a Central Square Retail Mix & Vacancies Working Group. Daniel Goldstein, proprietor of the Clear Conscience Café, hosts Wednesday morning meetings that draw business owners and police officials to find solutions to immediate problems — for example, whether the removal of a single bench might eliminate public nuisances — and has boosted law enforcement efforts.

But the sluggish economy isn’t helping matters, and a sense of crisis continues. Gus Rancatore, of Toscanini’s ice cream, said last month that his customers continue to be alarmed by encounters with street people, and empty storefronts remain a problem.

“We begin in hot August because the Square needs our immediate attention,” Reeves said. “A group of 130 Central Square stakeholders have been invited to participate as Commission members. They include citizens, representatives, real estate owners and managers, economic development specialists, city staff, and other knowledgeable denizens of Central Square.”

The first meeting is Aug. 3, and is to be hosted by Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.

Reeves invites questions at (617) 349-4264 or by e-mail by clicking here.

This post includes a significant amount of material from a press release.