Thursday, June 20, 2024

Adding roughly 30,000 square feet of apartments atop Harvard Square’s Crimson Galeria is due for discussion by the Historical Commission on Thursday. (Image: Nelson via Cambridge Historical Commission)

Gun violence, reparations and the environment 

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. As the only time the full council comes together in all of July and August, this meeting typically has a packed agenda. And while recent killings and gun violence in parts of the city are drawing concern (and orders to support or develop programs against the trend), there are two other issues that could get plenty of public comment and debate too: slavery reparations and restitution programs that some feel aren’t ready for votes; and trees.

There’s an order coming to propose trees be treated as “essential infrastructure” without exemptions for affordable, municipal or other projects, and a rally in front of City Hall before it’s taken up to energize supporters – though on Saturday it was announced there would be a concurrent City Hall “Rally for Our Youth” with My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge to also decry the current wave of violence. The tree order is written by councillor Patty Nolan, whom Mayor Sumbul Siddique names as chair of a new Climate Crisis Working Group that’s expected to meet up to six times over the next three months. And you might throw a couple more ecology-based items into the mix: support for a state-level bill to regulate electric bicycles and require special permits for research and development, lab and research facilities in more parts of the city, considering their “unique characteristics that may be detrimental to residential neighborhoods.” (The city may be asked to contribute money to restore Jerry’s Pond to a neighborhood amenity, too.)

There’s also a vote due on enacting a law that barring police from using “chemical crowd agents and kinetic impact projectiles” such as tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and beanbag rounds; and orders that would get a process moving on the search for the next city manager, with a financial outlay and a call to let the chairs of the council’s Government Operations Committee review how city staff identify a search consultant. Finally, the council is asking about getting city staff to 100 percent vaccinated to lower the likelihood that Covid-19 spreads in municipal buildings.

Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

School reopening plans and three resolutions 

School Committee, 5 p.m. Tuesday. This looks to be a light meeting, with a motion to support a state bill on “improving pesticide protections for Massachusetts schoolchildren” and resolutions proposed to honor Bob Moses, 86, a civil rights champion and creator of The Algebra Project, who died July 25; Robert R. “LB” Favreau III, 22, a former district student killed July 14 in Somerville; and Dosha Beard, executive secretary to the committee, who retires effective Aug. 31. But there’s also an expected superintendent’s update on school reopenings and planning for use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, and it comes from newly appointed interim superintendent Victoria Greer. The previous holder of the title, Kenneth Salim, stepped down June 30, two years ahead of time based on his contract with the district. 

The committee meets in the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Central Square plans: Citizens Bank and apartments

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Citizens Bank wants to cross the street in Central Square from the handsome Savings Bank Building at 689 Massachusetts Ave. to take over the former Rodney’s Bookstore space at 698 Massachusetts Ave., even though that would take up more sidewalk frontage than financial institutions are supposed to under current zoning (because everyone hates how they deaden the streetscape). Another matter on the agenda is expected to be continued to Aug. 17: Converting a one-story former mattress shop at 600 Massachusetts Ave. into a five-story, 93,263-square-foot apartment building with ground-floor retail and 46 units stretching narrowly back to Green Street. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Hiring the next city manager

Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, 11 a.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillor E. Denise Simmons returns to a discussion from July 12 to discuss hiring the next city manager. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Apartments atop Harvard Square’s Crimson Galeria

Historical Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday. Expansion plans began in 2015 for The Crimson Galeria at 57 JFK St., Harvard Square – next to historic Winthrop Park and home to restaurants such as BonChon, The Maharaja, Shake Shack and a Veggie Grill – but have never reached construction. On the latest commission agenda is an updated application to add four stories with 42 apartments. That roughly 30,000 square feet would go atop an existing three stories of 29,000 square feet (including one story that’s below ground). Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.