Wednesday workshop will help tell CRA what projects to focus on in coming years
What should be the project or focus for the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority? You can tell the agency yourself at a community workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Community Room of the Cambridge Main Library.
But the workshop is only one the ways the agency is inviting comment for its strategic planning process to spot initiatives and projects for the next years of its work.
Along with the in-person workshop, the agency is collaborating with a local Kendall Square startup called coUrbanize to solicit online feedback from residents on 10 potential initiatives including the Foundry building, Grand Junction Path and Third Street Lot.
“Our strategic plan will create a framework for the role of the CRA now and into the future,” said Tom Evans, the agency’s executive redevelopment officer. “Our collaboration with coUrbanize will help us engage a broader segment of community to identify which potential redevelopment initiatives are most needed.”
The 10 potential projects on the CoUrbanize site:
First and Second Street Corridor
Blocks with “disparate and underutilized properties” between the historic East Cambridge neighborhood, Cambridgeside Galleria, courthouse redevelopment, Lechmere station and Kendall Square activities.
Third Street Lot
The agency owns this 6,000-square-foot lot at Third Street and Binney. Recently the site has been used for construction staging, but it could accommodate a retail or commercial use, at least on an interim basis.
This 94-acre district between the railroad and Concord Avenue was the focus of a 2005-06 City planning study and rezoning and has more than 1.5 million square feet of industrial, research, office, schools and new housing developments. But it lacks a good roadway network and access across the tracks to the Alewife Station.
This 53,800-square-foot city-owned building is vacant and in need of renovation. The city what it will hold and what work is needed to make those goals happen.
Fresh Pond Shopping Center
This 16-acre, auto-oriented retail center was developed in 1978 and has an Activity Use Limitation from the state Department of Environmental Protection from former industrial uses.
Grand Junction Path
The agency owns 1.75 acres of open space along this proposed two-mile multi-use linear path that will connect East Cambridge, Kendall Square and Cambridgeport, as proposed in the 2001 East Cambridge Planning Study and a 2006 feasibility study.
State Route 28 is a six-lane highway fronted by some vacant and underutilized sites. The adjacent green line extension and community path and a proposed roadway redesign will is already due to bring change to this area.
This 24-unit residential property is in poor condition, with boarded-up units on the ground floor. The 0.65-acre site is close to the heart of Central Square.
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
The U.S. Department of Transportation conducts research on this 14-acre site in the heart of Kendall Square. The existing 340,000 square feet of buildings need reinvestment, and the recent K2C2 plan recommended additional residential, office, and open space development – if the government will give it up.
Industrial uses in this area are incompatible with neighboring housing and businesses, and some properties need remediation. This edge of Cambridge is next to the future green line station and proposed development in Somerville.
By using coUrbanize, residents can see images and details about potential initiatives, participate in a survey evaluating those initiatives, write comments and get responses from agency officials and provide feedback on suggestions from other community members.
Residents have written online comments requesting numerous improvements to the Cambridge community, including more affordable housing, a farmers’ market in a vacant lot on Third Street and pedestrian improvements near Fresh Pond.
The agency will use feedback gathered at the community workshop, follow-up meetings with community groups and the coUrbanize website, to draft a strategic plan document this spring, Evans said.
The 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday workshop is in the Community Room of the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway.
This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.