The spring bulbs are coming up, vaccinations are getting distributed, and plans are afoot to get students into classrooms safely. There's finally hope!
Police Task Force
New Senior Center
Grace Church Tower
Police Task Force ReportThe final report of the Police Reform Task force is here.
It's a remarkable and thoughtful document, worth your time to read if you are at all interested in how policing in Newton might change to meet 21st century needs and budgets.
The Public Safety committee will be scheduling meetings with the Administration & the new chief, due to be hired by early April, to determine what the Council's role might be, and how to move forward.
NewCAL Taking Shape
Two general options have come out of the extensive process to build a new, functional senior center at its current site. All-new? Or retain the old façade?
An all-new structure has several advantages--better and more equal access for all, it can grow with the future programming needs, more parking (some covered), and is $2-3 million cheaper.
Many members of the public who have reviewed the two options --including seniors, the Council on Aging, the Disabilities Commission--prefer the all-new option. The possible other option--retaining the façade of the current center--is below:
Personally, I'm not fond of the big-boxy structure pictured in 2C above, but staff told us there are many ways to mitigate that. It could, like the library, retain a cupola, the stained glass windows, and other features that would help the building fit in with the existing architecture of Walnut Street in Newtonville.
What do you think? What is most important to you?
#Stop Asian Hate
It was gratifying yesterday to join hundreds of Newton residents standing against the recent horror in Georgia and anti-Asian bias. Diversity makes our community stronger, especially when we stand together.
Grace Church Tower
The parishioners of Grace Church asked for $1.4 million, a 50% match, from the Community Preservation fund to salvage their historic steeple. The Community Preservation Act in Newton is funded by a 1% surcharge on the property tax. It was passed by the voters of Newton in 2001 to fund historic preservation, community housing, open space and recreation.
It is a huge request--probably the largest single historic grant Newton’s CPA has been asked to fund--and there was a question of separation of church and state, as well as the possibility that Council would open the floodgates for the many religious institutions in historic structures with dwindling congregations and funds.
But other arguments persuaded me to support the project--neighboring Farlow Park was built with the tower as a focal point. This is one of the few intact places in Newton Corner, which was fragmented by the building of the Massachusetts Turnpike. The tower has no religious iconography, which may satisfy court findings on the church-state issue.
Ultimately, my respect for the work of the Community Preservation Committee-an all-volunteer 9-member board drawn from city committees in all the interest groups, and the public benefits the church community agreed to offer--among them allowing access to the tower during historic tours and developing a program of public secular bell concerts and classes--that tipped the balance for me. I hope the tower remains a landmark in the neighborhood for generations.
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Almost every month I write constituents about a topic before the city