Monday, May 20, 2024

The Cambridge-owned First Street Garage, left, needs $1.2 million in work, in part to make up for space being lost to a project at 40 Thorndike St. in East Cambridge. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Free lunch; no-gun traffic stops

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. The city should be financially prepared to offer free lunch for all Cambridge Public Schools students if the state is not, some councillors say, and there’s a returning call to keep parts of the state’s Memorial Drive closed to car traffic Saturdays and Sundays instead of just Sundays, as was the tradition until recently – the now seemingly never-ending saga of Riverbed Park. It’s a tradeoff for wrapping up another lingering story: the potential landmarking of the circa-1912 Gas Light Co. Building at 711-727 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, where a boutique-hotel addition has been proposed. The Historical Commission suggests making the building Cambridge’s 44th designating landmark, protect the publicly visible exterior from “inappropriate alterations” while allowing the hotel.

Advice from the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department is not to disrupt bike-lane flow for a single parking spot for deliveries at a 52-unit apartment building at 931 Massachusetts Ave., Mid-Cambridge, given “there is curb access relatively close by on Hancock Street, which is flat and usable for loading [and also] level, off-street space on the property that could be used.” The City Manager’s Office asks $1.2 million for work at the First Street Garage in East Cambridge – staircase and elevator improvements, but also renovations for transportation staff offices there, which must expand somewhere to make up for space lost to the 40 Thorndike project, turning a former courthouse into an office tower with 48 units of housing and retail space. Also, the city has received $100,000 from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council that will be used to commission artists to design temporary shade pavilions for city parks or other public facilities.

Three items return from being set aside last week: Having automated traffic enforcement or unarmed traffic stops; changes to the city’s Building Energy Usage Disclosure Ordinance; and a zoning petition by resident Doug Brown that was initially allowed but then found “defective” by the Law Department in a manner that left some councillors agape.

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


Update on universal pre-K

Joint Roundtable Working Meeting of the City Council and School Committee, 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Officials get an update from the city manager, superintendent of schools and the Cambridge Office of Early Childhood on the next steps toward implementing universal pre-K. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

New cannabis; Elevate upgrades

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. An adult-use cannabis dispensary called Boston Garden wants to move into former real estate offices at 1730 Massachusetts Ave., Neighborhood 9, not far from an Herbwell pot shop due to open in March at 1686 Massachusetts Ave., the former Stereo Jack’s record shop, or a Porter Square Remedies shop under construction, according to the Community Development Department. Also, the Elevate apartments tower at 1 Leighton St., North Point, may get a redesigned public plaza, relocated and expanded convenience store, better neighborhood meeting space and second-floor resident amenities, and a new 21st-floor “skyline lounge” as well as a pet-wash amenity, bicycle repair station and electric-vehicle charging stations in the underground parking garage. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


Spending federal housing money

Public Hearing on Home-ARP Funds, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The federal Home-American Rescue Plan program gives money to reduce unsheltered homelessness and increase housing stability, and this meeting provides an opportunity to weigh in on how the money will be spent. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


City manager review process

Special City Council Meeting, 10 a.m. to noon Thursday. Officials discuss goals and metrics for an annual performance review of the city manager. The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.