Wednesday, July 24, 2024

If the crowds Saturday at Somerville’s Home Depot are any indication, the Cambridge City Council’s interest in getting back to permitting and construction will get a warm reception. (Photo: Charles Teague)

Small-business grants and loans on the way

Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, 3 p.m. Monday. The authority, usually focused on Kendall Square, looks to implement a citywide Small Business Covid-19 Relief Grant and Loan Program in partnership with the city, as well as to adjust its own budgeting to provide funds for relief programs. The agency has also launched a Web page just for the plan to put an Eversource substation at the Blue Garage in Kendall, which will bring about some other changes – but keep Eversource from installing the industrial monster on Fulkerson Street, in a residential area across from a school and park.

Join the meeting online at or call (646) 558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID of 842 7946 3951#. (Push # again if prompted for a participant ID.).

Council wants to get back to business

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. The business of Cambridge is development – it’s the engine that powers the city’s astounding spending – and larger and nonresidential projects have been shut down since March 18. Now there are calls for guidelines allowing for construction projects to restart and for the Planning Board to get back to work (and, on the nondevelopment side, for city help for small, local businesses that will need to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus). Some councillors also want more fixes to the city’s mask order, which the city manager put in place last week before councillors could talk about it; and for Cantabrigians to be tested for Covid-19 just like the residents of Somerville. Councillor Quinton Zondervan wants the city to be ready for the “Zoombombing” of its virtual meetings (as happened to the previous council meeting) and to be ready to handle them.

The meeting will be televised and stream online. Sign up for public comment here to get instructions about how to use the necessary Zoom video conference platform.

How to hold a graduation ceremony, teach remotely

School Committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday. With physical gatherings of seven or more people not allowed during city shutdown rules, the student members of the committee and vice chair Manikka Bowman propose a virtual graduation ceremony – and, if possible, an in-person  summertime ceremony if the ban on large gatherings is lifted. Bowman also wants a Covid-19 Recovery Task Force formed to make up for learning loss from the school year disruption (the subject of a special meeting Thursday), and for an eye on school improvement councils that might not be meeting their obligations. Both of these are co-sponsored by member Fred Fantini. Members Rachel Weinstein, Ayesha Wilson and Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui are also concerned about students learning remotely, and want each pupil to get “an individual, non-academic check-in with a school staff member in real time at least once per week.”

The meeting will be broadcast over Cambridge Educational Access TV channels 98 and 99 and should stream online. More information is here.

Longer period of remote education

School Committee virtual special meeting, 6 p.m. Thursday. In light of extended school closings and updated remote learning guidance provided by the state on April 24, the committee plans to engage the community “in a conversation about a Covid-19 plan.” Signup for public comment runs from noon Monday to noon Thursday.

The meeting will be broadcast over Cambridge Educational Access TV channels 98 and 99 and should stream online.