Saturday, June 22, 2024

These are just some of the municipal meetings and civic events for the coming week. More are on the City Calendar and in the city’s Open Meetings Portal.


A rendering of an Italian consulate building next to the Dante Alighieri Society Center in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. (Image: Pisani + Associates)

The city and ‘Neville Manor’

Health & Environment Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday. This committee run by city councillor Patty Nolan wants to discuss Cambridge’s partnership with “Neville Manor” – the former city-owned senior home that is now Neville Place assisted living and Neville Center nursing. Both facilities are near Fresh Pond and still have ties to city government, though they are operated by private management companies. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Italian consulate in Kendall

Board of Zoning Appeal, 6 to 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The Italian government wants consulate offices at the 41 Hampshire St., Kendall Square, home of the nonprofit Dante Alighieri Society Center, an Italian cultural organization. A 35-foot-high, 5,600-square-foot, three-story structure (with of those one belowground) would go next to the center, which was designed by architect Pietro Belluschi and built in 1985, with offices, classrooms or meeting rooms, a theater, exhibit space and espresso lounge. There would be an expanded brick piazza too. This is a continued case for a special permit and a variance for which the applicants want a six-month delay on the variance request. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Negotiating with superintendent

School Committee special meeting, 2 p.m. Friday. By the time of this meeting, which is public only long enough for the committee to go into a closed-door session, it will have been more than six weeks since the community was told news about superintendent Victoria Greer would arrive “in the coming days.” Since then word leaked that the committee asked Greer to resign and that much of previous closed-door meeting was overheard by a parent when the Zoom link was left open. This is a fifth session of “contract negotiations with nonunion personnel,” meaning Greer, whose evaluations declined with a series of eyebrow-raising hirings; leading the Graham & Parks School into conflict and investigation; and a survey finding a dispirited and demoralized workforce. Watchable online.

Three Memorial Day events

Memorial Day Observance Events at 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Monday. Saturday events lead off with a decoration of veterans’ graves with flags at Cambridge Cemetery, 76 Coolidge Ave., West Cambridge, followed by an observance for maritime military members at the American Legion Marsh Post, 5 Greenough Blvd., West Cambridge. On Monday the ceremonies move to Cambridge Common, near Harvard Square, with public officials, a keynote address by Joseph Reynolds of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Veteran Services and music by the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Marching Band. Afterward comes free food and family-friendly entertainment including a petting zoo and pony rides, face painting, caricatures and a balloon artist.

Multifamily homes citywide

Ordinance Committee, noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by vice mayor Marc McGovern and city councillor Paul Toner looks at the Ronayne petition (named after first signer Joseph Ronayne), one of the ongoing efforts to allow multifamily residential uses citywide, ending restrictions in so-called Residential A and B areas where development is limited to single-family homes. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Cambridge Public School talk

Community conversation, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Discussion of progress, challenges and concerns in the Cambridge Public School district, sponsored by My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Diversifying City Hall business

Economic Development & University Relations Committee, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillor Paul Toner explores racial and gender disparities in how Cambridge awards contracts, after a report found that of the professional services firms who were vendors in a five-year study period, only 1.3 percent were certified as minority-owned. About 5 percent were certified as white women-owned. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Cameras and other surveillance

Public Safety Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Paul Toner and Ayesha Wilson considers closed-circuit cameras and other surveillance technologies as police officer body cameras inch closer and there are more community calls for cameras that might help prevent or solve crimes. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Envisioning Mass. Ave. of 2040

Massachusetts Avenue planning study open house, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The group continues to focus on the area south of Porter Square in creating a vision for what the avenue will look like in 2040 between Alewife Brook Parkway and Cambridge Common. This time the Community Development Department shares a draft vision and potential ideas for the area around beautification, adding housing and neighborhood amenities, supporting small businesses and improving sidewalks and walkability. The event is at Lesley University’s Lunder Arts Center, 1801 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square.

Online forum about school tests

MCAS and Equity: Does high-stakes testing close “the gap”? virtual forum, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The second forum in a series looking at high-stakes testing, education reform and the state of public schools especially in Cambridge. The panel includes Denisha Jones, founder of Defending the Early Years; Rachel Williams Giordano, CRLS teacher; Khari Milner, co-director of the Cambridge Agenda for Children Out-of-School Time; Shelley Scruggs, parent of a special-needs student; and Amy Zhou, a CRLS senior. Sponsored by Cambridge Retired Educators United, the Cambridge Education Association, CEA Educators of Color Coalition, Citizens for Public Schools, Our Revolution Cambridge and the Cambridge Residents Alliance. Register here to get a Zoom link the day of the forum.

Central Square rezoning

Central Square rezoning community meeting, 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 30. The first of three meetings to discuss potential zoning updates. A Community Development Department team will introduce the process, recap community goals, frame key issues, review C2 Study zoning recommendations and gather community feedback. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.