News-in-a-Letter December 2010
Every two years the City Council adopts goals to guide it in the next two fiscal years. This year we held a World Café – a structured gathering with about 75 members of the community—to guide us toward the future. Most goals were carried over from the prior two years; new this year are public safety and transportation aims.
- Foster community and support neighborhood vitality. Support opportunities for citizens to know each other within their neighborhoods and across the city.
- Evaluate City expenditures with a view of maintaining a strong fiscal position and an awareness of the impact on taxpayers while providing a high quality array of city services.
- Strengthen and support human services, public education and out-of-school learning in Cambridge for the benefit of residents of all ages.
- Value and support the racial, socioeconomic, cultural and religious diversity of our city.
- Promote public safety and address the challenges and opportunities for multiple modes of transportation to safely share roads and sidewalks.
- Promote a healthy community and environment to advance Cambridge as a leader in public health and environmental sustainability.
- Preserve and create affordable housing for low, moderate and middle-income families and other residents across the city.
- Promote doing business in Cambridge and work to strengthen our mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses and universities.
These goals have served us well up until now, earning a remarkable 90% satisfaction rating for Cambridge as a place to live. To keep that level of satisfaction, I know that we must continue to improve.
EF Zoning. EF, a private educational institution located at North Point opposite the Museum of Science, petitioned the City Council to relax existing zoning governing them and permit expansion of their facility. The prior zoning would have required that housing be built on the site. After lengthy deliberations, the Council permitted this expansion as it is appropriate to the site. The request for zoning relief is accompanied by a community benefit package from the developer amounting to nearly $914k. Community benefit packages are fairly new in Massachusetts zoning but are likely to be part of each new major zoning request that comes forward to the Council.
Community Benefits. The state courts have ruled that municipalities can request that developers voluntarily contribute a community benefits package when they request consideration for zoning relief. What’s new is that the benefits need not relate directly to the immediate impact of the project but can benefit the community as a whole. I support setting up a Community Benefits Fund that is managed by a board, similar to other city fund boards, such as the Affordable Housing Trust and the Community Preservation Board. They would review requests for funding annually and make recommendations to the City Council for spending. I also would like to see some funds dispersed in relation to the impact the zoning may have in the form of loss of affordable housing and additional carbon emissions impacts for instance.
Norris St. and the North Cambridge Catholic High School. Last year the NCCHS was closed after decades of use on Norris St., a one-block residential street in North Cambridge. Existing zoning allows the building to be re-used for housing units as small as 700 square feet, which means that up to 40 units of housing could be built into the shell. One parking space would be required for each unit. The Council is being asked to amend the zoning ordinance to reduce the impact on this tight street, possibly cutting the number of permitted units and/or requiring average units to be larger—I like to think of them as family sized –3-bedrooms, for example.
Sign Ordinance. I’ll try to give you a summary of this touchy subject in 100 words or less: Last fall a big brouhaha erupted at the City Council about an ordinance passed by the majority of Councillors that permitted lighted identification signs on tall buildings in some parts of the city. I did not support the ordinance because I felt it was not sufficiently restrictive. One property owner and many citizens objected to the passage of the ordinance saying it would give a commercial character to the city that they oppose. Their opposing petition essentially forced the Council to rescind the ordinance. No further action has been taken.
HRI/Neighborhood Apartment Housing Services. Homeowners Rehab(HRI) has been a leading housing agency in Cambridge for decades, developing new affordable housing and rehabbing housing for lower income homeowners. The organization also has a lesser-known service directed at absentee owners of apartments who want to improve their rental units, such as by weatherizing – a benefit to tenants. Since 1983, HRI has been closely affiliated with Cambridge Neighborhood Apartment Housing Services (CNAHS), a separate and independent non-profit housing organization that focuses on creating new and maintaining existing affordable rental housing. This goal is accomplished by developing new rental housing and providing below-market loans to multi-family housing owners who are willing to keep their units affordable. For more information on CNAHS go to http://www.cambridgenahs.org/about.history.php.
Subsidized Housing Units Available. Funded by the Community Preservation Act, the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust has been able to develop new units of housing around the city. Most recently the Trust celebrated the completion of a very green, total renovation of a 12-unit wood frame building on Pine St. The Community Development Department is currently accepting applications for this and other subsidized rental units and homeownership units.
The department also has established a Homeownership Resale Pool. In order to better match buyers to affordable units being sold by current owners, there is a new system in which a single application for housing will enter households into the Homeownership Resale Pool. All applications received will be added to the pool in the order in which they are received. UniIn order to be added to the Homeownership Resale Pool, applicants must have a household income of at least 40% but not more than 100% of Area Median Income as defined by HUD, approximately $90,000 for a family of four.
Are You Eligible for Subsidized Housing? For information about renting or owning an affordable unit, applying for available units or to obtain information about Cambridge affordable housing in general, call the Community Development Department, Housing Division, at 617-349-4622. Cambridge subsidized units are available to low or moderate and, in some cases, middle-income families and individuals. Top income levels for some units reach $104k for a family of four.
AGING IN OUR COMMUNITY
Housing for an Aging Population. The baby boomers are coming, the baby boomers are coming! I’m pleased to announce that I have been appointed to chair the Mayor’s Silver Ribbon Commission, charged with addressing housing needs of older residents. This commission will consist of community members, city staff and housing professionals and will follow up on city studies of housing trends and desires. Early analysis shows that there are twice as many people aged 55 to 65 living in Cambridge as there are people who are older than 65. What this hints at is a growing group who will retire here. Many will want to age at home or move to supportive facilities. How should we prepare our housing stock to meet that need, to match the housing desires of aging Cantabrigians? Please contact me if you wish to be considered to serve on the commission or to be kept informed of issues related to aging in Cambridge.
Door 2 Door. This van service, available to people over 62, is available for shopping trips and other errands. It means less need to drive a car as you get older. A donation is requested. Call 617-625-1191 to reserve.
Educational Opportunities for Older Cantabrigians. I recently heard by email from someone who had received my publication Savings for Seniors, which lists 29 discounts for persons as they get older. This individual used the information get started in a new career direction! Taking advantage of BU’s Evergreen Program, very low cost classes with the permission of the instructor, she is now enrolled (and paying) for a master’s degree. I have additional copies of Savings for Seniors if you would like one, and it is also available on line at henriettadavis.org, under Useful Info.
SCHOOLS, KIDS, AND EDUCATION FOR ALL
Schools Study Groups. School Committee members are taking the lead in examining elements that relate to the future of our public school system. Deciding which school buildings to fix up is tied to how schools will be used in the years to come. Last year when the School Committee and the Superintendent looked into the possibility of developing middle schools, they discovered that the facility issue was important to solve at the same time. Look for reports and recommendations in the Spring.
Trauma. As co chair of the Healthy Children Task Force, I’ve been involved over the years with a number of health prevention initiatives, including a nationally recognized program for preventing obesity. This year, with School Committee member Alice Turkel, I have convened a series of meetings to see if we can promote success in school for children who have experienced emotional trauma. Some of these children have experienced domestic violence or been bullied or abused and for them the classroom can feel like a dangerous place. We’re expecting that after a year of study our subcommittee may recommend additional training for the adults in the schools. Or we may want to develop an enhanced system that refers kids for appropriate services. In years past the School Department was able to have a closer relationship with social service agencies; this kind of relationship may need to be revived.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse by Cambridge Young People. If you were guessing, would you say that Cambridge public school students were better or worse than their peers in private school when it comes to using and abusing alcohol and substance? The Teen Health survey has shown that Cambridge private and public school students use and abuse alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs such as inhalants, at roughly the same rate. As for comparisons with other communities, marijuana use is higher here than the state average, leading some to theorize that too many young people believe that marijuana is harmless.
Tax Credits for Families. Two important tax credit programs are now available for families. The Earned Income Tax Credit EITC can result in thousands of dollars of payments to low-income families and individuals. For information and to make an appointment to have your tax return completed, call CEOC at 617-868-2906. Also important, the College Tuition Tax Credit can return $2500 to any college student or family. For students attending public higher education this can go a long way to paying for tuition. It’s definitely worth following up on this.
Community Learning Center. Ever since I was first elected to the City Council, I have been hopeful that the Community Learning Center, the city’s adult education program where many new citizens learn English, would have a new home, and move from its poor quality rental space. I’m pleased to say that CLC will move to the empty Central Square police station sharing the facility with the Cambridge Housing Authority. The City Council approved a loan order to $14 million for rehab and the work is scheduled to be completed in approximately two years.
Trees. As chair of the Environment Committee, I’ve been holding a series of meetings on how to strengthen the city’s planting and maintenance of our urban forest. Cambridge is home to approximately 17,000 city-owned trees and is responsible for the planting and maintenance of street trees and trees on public reservations. While last year the city planted 600 trees, more and more we’re hearing from the Public Planting Committee, a group of volunteer stewards of public trees, that we should turn our focus to maintaining trees, including enlisting members of the public to help water all street trees, especially during times of drought. Look for a better-publicized and more robust public stewardship program in the months to come.
ICLEI and Adaptation. Cambridge belongs to the non-profit group ICLEI/Local Governments for Sustainability, and it’s through the assistance of this organization that we first evaluated our carbon emissions. Now Cambridge has been selected as one of eight cities nationally to participate in ICLEI’s Resilient Communities Program. This will give us with technical assistance to plan to adapt our city to the range of impacts we will face from climate change. First we must evaluate our vulnerabilities as a coastal city, then plan so that we keep our city safe from sea level rise. We need to answer the question: how will we protect our residents from extreme weather such as heat waves? Also, I’m proud to say that I have been appointed to the U.S. Board of Directors of ICLEI. As a member of the board, I will share our experiences here in Cambridge with cities across the country and around the world.
Public Information about Renewable Energy . Among the projects I’ve been working on this year with community members who participated in last year’s Climate Congress is to deliver information to the public about renewable energy. While energy efficiency must the first way to decrease carbon emissions, in the long run it is essential to create more energy capacity from renewables, such as solar. This past year we have held two informational sessions on solar and seen several films on sustainability. Look for more events from the public information group which is named CREATe, including one in January about Eco-Communities in Sweden and the U.S.
Randi Mail, Cambridge Recycling Director, reports: “Single Stream Recycling Starts Strong.” Cambridge residents have been recycling at high levels during the first month of the City’s new recycling program. During its first full month, recycling increased by 125 tons (20%) compared to November 2009! We recycled 781 tons in November 2010, compared to 656 tons last November. This recycling program serves residences, city buildings, schools and houses of worship. Single stream means that you can place clean bottles, cans, paper and cardboard together in the same bin. Also, over 150 residents and city employees toured the Casella Recycling facility in Charlestown this year. It was impressive to see the cutting edge sorting technology used to separate our recyclable materials, which are marketed to companies that make new products
The Cambridge Energy Efficiency Hot-Line. Do you have questions about how you can become more energy efficient? Have you already installed CFLs and want to take more action in your home? Wonder who to contact about having a home energy assessment completed? Call the CEA Hot-Line at 617-491-0488 x121 during the Energy Advisor's in-service hours, Monday-Friday from 10am-noon. If you can’t call during our in-service hours, leave a message any time or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Other Useful Energy Efficiency Contacts
HEET. The Home Energy Efficiency Team is looking for non-profit buildings where they can bring a team to iweatherize. Contact http://heetma.com/
Fuel Assistance and Weatherization Program. This is a city program for low income residents that helps homeowners and residents to lower their heating costs. Contact 617-349-6252.
Better for Bikes and Pedestrians. Cambridge is continually improving for bike riders and pedestrians. One example is the new plan for reconstructing Western Ave. Initially driving the reconstruction is the need to accommodate storm water that needs to run to the river, rather than to Deer Island where it would be unnecessarily treated as if it were sewage. The plan developed with the community involves a separated bike track between parked cars and the sidewalk. Cyclists will have a buffer between the bike lane and the parked cars, and the existing trees form a natural buffer between the bike lane and the sidewalk. Construction is expected to be completed by September 2013.
Bicycling Enforcement. It’s time once again to remind bicyclists of the rules of the road. After hearing complaints of near collisions from a vocal group at the World Café community meeting, I joined other Councillors in asking for more education and enforcement to motivate bikers to stop at crosswalks and red lights. Ironically, on the way to the meeting I’d been narrowly missed by a bicyclist who bombed through the Inman St. crosswalk where I was crossing with the light and she didn’t even slow down or seem to notice that she was about to hit a pedestrian. Ouch.
A GREAT HONOR
I am so proud to announce that last month the National Democratic Municipal Officials (DMO) named me as Democratic Municipal Official of the Year 2010! The DMO is the largest coalition of Democratic officials in the United States, and represents more than 50,000 Democratic leaders in local governments of all sizes, geographies, and composition. Nearly 400 mayors, city council members, and other elected municipal officials from around the nation were present at an early morning breakfast in Denver when I received the award which especially cited by work on the environment, for seniors and for children. I was joined at the awards ceremony by members of the home team: my husband, Richard Bock, Mayor David Maher, Deputy City Manager Richard Rossi, Lisa Peterson and Ellen Semenoff. I couldn’t be more proud. I want to thank colleagues, city staff and especially you and other voters for giving me the opportunity to serve as a Cambridge City Councillor and now as Vice Mayor.
P.S. Save the Date. The fourth annual Cambridge Science Festival will run from April 30 to May 8. Mark it on your calendar for a week of science fun and information for people of all ages.
News-in-a-Letter Spring 2010
After a competitive mayor’s race – in which I threw my hat into the ring - the results did not fall my way. Instead, I was elected as Vice Mayor and I’m happy to have that honor. In addition, I have been named to chair the Cable TV, Telecommunications, and Public Utilities Committee and the Environment Committee. These two committees will offer me an excellent perch from which to initiate policy and work with my colleagues.
Cuts from the State: Slight Increase in Budget The City Manager will be proposing a 6.3% budget increase and adding one new position in the next fiscal year. As in prior years, the bulk of the increase results from escalating health insurance costs. Despite a decrease in state aid, only a moderate increase is expected in the property tax, though that will not be determined until the fall. We remain the lowest taxed city in the state.
Climate Congress About 100 residents participated in Climate Congress meetings to set priorities to reinvigorate our sustainability efforts. Organized by citizens and held in cooperation with city government, the Congress also propelled a newly energized citizen effort to promote public awareness about climate matters. Three important recommendations emerged from the process: 1. Citizens should form a new citizens’ organization to respond urgently to climate change 2. City government should re-examine and re-calibrate the work it has done to set and monitor its goals to decrease carbon use 3. City government should appoint a sustainability officer and create a new board to oversee climate-related action. These recommendations will be under consideration by city administration, City Council, and members of the public.
Green Jobs Task Force Outcome After studying the need to train people for “green jobs,” the city has arranged for a training program for Cambridge residents in conjunction with the Asian American Civic Association in Boston. Open to all qualified individuals, the program, which has rolling admissions, will prepare 16 Cambridge residents for jobs making buildings more energy efficient. There are two training tracks - the more advanced training level includes a paid internship. For more information contact Pardis Saffari at the Community Development Department at 617-349-4654.
Growing Green in Cambridge Last year, I brought together residents, people who work in Cambridge, and city staff who were interested in promoting more gardening in the city, especially vegetable gardening. One outcome was the successful launch of the city’s first urban agricultural fair in conjunction with the Harvard Square Business Association. The second annual fair will take place on Sunday, September 19. Also as an outcome of earlier discussions, about 15 new garden plots are expected to be installed at the Riverside Press Park. The next Environment Committee meeting on this topic will be June 16 at 5:30 in the City Council chamber.
Container Gardening Land is scarce in Cambridge and unfortunately there is a waiting list for community garden plots. In response, the Commissioner of Public Works is encouraging an interest in container gardening. This year a session on container gardening will be held at the Senior Center on May 22 from 12-3p.m. Almost 200 people came to last year’s event.
Single Stream Recycling While waste is not the biggest portion of Cambridge’s carbon footprint (that honor goes to energy use in buildings), it is nonetheless important to address waste management issues, both to reduce adverse environmental impacts and to decrease the cost of rubbish disposal. The newest city proposal is single stream recycling. Used in many other U.S. communities, this system allows homeowners to place all recyclables in one large bin which are later sorted. If passed by the City Council, this fall the DPW will supply large, wheeled toters in which paper, cardboard, plastic, bottles and cans may be placed. Research elsewhere has shown that if people don’t have to sort, more goods are recycled. That’s good for the environment and good for the city budget.
CHILDREN, EDUCATION, AND FAMILIES
Middle School for Cambridge? This question, posed initially by the School Committee, has been put on hold by Superintendent Jeff Young. After a series of difficult meetings and discussions about the education of children in the middle grades, a proposal floated by the Superintendent to create a city-wide middle school for some students, was temporarily shelved. Instead, Superintendent Young will take a broad look at other measures that could affect student achievement in this age group.
Mental Health and Student Achievement As this year’s priority, the Healthy Children Task Force (HCTF) is evaluating the impact of mental health issues on student achievement. In a presentation Aida Ramos, director of the Special Education Department, said there is some capacity to help students with general emotional issues. Task Force members expressed interest in pursuing this topic further, especially to determine if some students whose problems are not especially visible are being bypassed for services. Of particular concern are children who have experienced trauma, estimated to be 15 to 20% of all Cambridge kindergartners!
Bullying Is there bullying in Cambridge schools? No doubt there is. The real question is whether there is adequate prevention and response to students feeling threatened in school. In May, the Healthy Children Task Force will hear a presentation about current measures. For more information contact my office at 617-349-4205.
AGING IN OUR COMMUNITY
Long-term Planning There are two important approaches to the issue of aging in our community. The first is to evaluate and establish programs for those who are now older: how are people who are now in their retirement years doing? The second is planning for future retirees. There are nearly as many people in Cambridge who are 55 to 65 as those who are 65 and older. The fact is there will be more older people in Cambridge in the coming years. Nearly two years ago the City Council set the goal of having a plan for aging in the community completed by this June. In response, the Community Development Department is studying existing senior housing, current gaps in service, and projecting for how these will play out in 10-20 years. Other aspects of the CDD study include analyzing the physical environment for suitability for an aging population. Look for a report out on this topic this fall.
Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) Adapts to Aging Residents At the March meeting of a coordinating committee, the Cambridge Aging in Community committee staffed by the Department of Human Services, Faith Marshall, CHA Deputy Director of Operations for the Elderly and Disabled, presented an impressive list of facility modifications to public housing. The modifications are designed to enable frail residents to stay at home rather than moving to nursing homes and range from improving existing units to designing entire assisted-living floors, staffed 24-hours a day. CHA units are open to all who meet income and asset guidelines, (no more than $46k in annual income and no more than $100k in assets excluding a primary residence). For more information call 617-864-3020.
CABLE TV, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, AND PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMITTEE
Cable TV, Telecommunications, and Public Utilities This mouthful is the name of one of the Council committees I chair. I expect to focus most of the committee’s attention on two topics: computer access and energy issues, especially energy efficiency in buildings. As for cable TV, the City Manager and his staff are now re-negotiating the Comcast contract. We’ve learned that Verizon Fios, a potential competitor for Comcast, has no plans to install its service in Cambridge soon.
Computer Access: The Digital Divide This is the divide between those who are routinely using both computers and the Internet and those who are not. Our society is depending more and more on computers and the Internet, yet some people are being left offline, a serious social and educational problem. Two years ago the city mounted a modest experiment: with a combination of computers, training, and tech support, 42 families from Newtowne Court housing became more adept at using computer and Internet tools for a range of important tasks, including homework for kids, and job hunting for adults. The Council may seek additional funds to see how we can further assist our residents to be connected. Of particular concern to me is that young people are required to turn in printed-out homework. Do they all have tools to accomplish that? Obviously the public library assists with that, but its hours are not scheduled to accommodate student homework assignments.
ENERGY AND BUILDINGS
Energy Efficiency and Cambridge It is the dawning of the age of serious energy efficiency. The federal government is offering incentives to use energy more efficiently, promoting the design and distribution of more energy-efficient appliances, for example. The state government is also promoting such programs. Public utilities, in our case NStar, are enhancing their energy efficiency programs with the goal of avoiding the building of more power plants. All this means more help for residents and businesses to tighten up their buildings and to use less power, especially less electricity, which is most often produced by polluting coal-fired plants.
Greening Our City Buildings City-owned buildings, which make up 3% of all Cambridge buildings, have already experienced some modest measures to decrease utility bills. However, much work remains to be done, including updating all elementary schools. For example, the Tobin School building is notorious for being all-electric. I’d like to see an accelerated energy efficiency plan for all school and city buildings. Even if the plan was executed immediately, it will take many years to bring all buildings up to date.
Cambridge Energy Alliance This public-private partnership was set up to assist homeowners, businesses and institutions to maximize clean energy use from energy efficiency and also from renewables, such as solar. The Alliance is one of a group of these new service organizations being set up across the country. In the case of CEA, its original business-financing plan did not materialize. Now, however, the Alliance hopes to re-emerge with additional funding from federal, state and NStar funds. For help with audits, contracting, and financing of all sorts of energy-efficiency measures, Cambridge NStar customers may request help from the Alliance energy advisor. Email email@example.com or call 617-491-0488.
Solar Energy Cambridge now hosts the largest residential solar array in the state at the Cambridge Housing Authority and more is on the way to the CHA. With members of the Climate Congress, I’ve begun promoting additional solar installations in our city. For information about residential small scale solar, an offshoot of the Climate Congress is sponsoring with CEA and other organizations two sessions called “Is Solar Right for My House?” Part one was at the Main Library at 6 p.m. on Earth Day, April 22. Part two will be on May 27 at 6:00 p.m. at 344 Broadway and will address the financing solar projects.
TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT
BU Bridge Reconstruction Last year the state notified Cambridge that it would begin accelerated renovation of the bridges that cross the Charles River. Already under construction are the BU Bridge and the Craigie Street drawbridge at the Museum of Science. The reconstruction of the BU Bridge is expected to take until December of 2012. At its completion, it will provide better passage for bicycles and pedestrians on the bridge and on its approaches. Also, soon to be under construction is the new Magazine Beach pedestrian bridge. To keep informed about all bridge construction projects, you may use this link: http://www.cambridgema.gov/cdd/et/infra/abp/index.html
River St. and Western Ave. Bridges Also to be reconstructed under the direction of MassDOT, these two critical bridges are slated for design and building in the next four years and must be completed by 2016. Two community meetings – one in Cambridge and one in Allston - have now been held to alert people that these projects are coming and to elicit comments. Meeting attendees, from bicycle riders to boaters, raised a range of construction safety issues. When completed, the bridges will likely look much as they look today. Still, bicycle and pedestrian advocates have proposed building underpasses along Memorial Drive to save bikers and pedestrians from crossing streets as they travel along the river. Planning is underway by a Cambridge CDD committee to improve the Western Ave. roadway and sidewalks.
Stormwater in the City Raging rains in March once again brought out concerns about some areas of the city that continue to be flooded. Especially hard hit was North Cambridge at the Arlington line where the Alewife Brook overtopped its banks and flooded nearby homes. This is not the first time this part of town has faced this type of flooding. The best solution is a regional one, probably involving changes to pumping at the Amelia Earhart Dam in Medford where the Mystic River flows toward Boston Harbor.
Central Square In 1995, the city launched a study of Central Square and added street and sidewalk improvements. Once again, Central Square has become the subject of study, this time focusing on improvements to the following: the retail mix, the physical ambiance, special events, marketing and public relations and human services. I certainly hear complaints about more and more banks and fewer and fewer places where shoppers can find something to purchase. The loss of Hollywood Express and Pearl Art is also disheartening. The City’s Economic Development Department has begun a series of community meetings. Check the city website for days and times.
Units Available CDD is currently accepting applications for some homeownership and some rental units from inclusionary developments. Construction was recently completed on 10 affordable units at 823 Main Street, offered for homeownership, and 24 rental units at 125 Harvard Street. Also, both buildings are environmentally sustainable and include photovoltaic solar panels. A few units at these developments are currently available. In addition, some re-sale units from other developments are available to new buyers.
Are You Eligible for Affordable Housing? For information about renting or owning an affordable unit, applying for available units, or to obtain information about Cambridge affordable housing in general, call the Community Development Department, Housing Division at 617-349-4622, or visit www.cambridgema.gov/cdd/hsg
Cambridge Housing Authority Improvements The CHA is revitalizing 45 units at the Jackson Gardens development and building 70 new “green” units at Lincoln Way. The efforts, which will soon be underway, are made possible with more than $7 million in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds.
Home Improvement Programs/Weatherization Home improvement funds are available to assist owner-occupants by offering low-interest and deferred loans as well as assistance in planning and managing rehab work. Interested owners should contact HRI at 617-868-4856 or Just A Start at 617-494-0444. Families of four earning up to $104k may be eligible for HIP funds. Another source of home improvement money related to energy efficiency (insulation, new refrigerators etc.) is the Weatherization Program (WAP). For more information contact the city’s Fuel Assistance Program at 617-349-6252.
SAVE THESE DATES
Plant Swap Saturday, May 1, 12−2pm, Fayette Park
Holocaust Commemoration Tuesday, May 4, at Temple Beth Shalom, 8 Tremont Street
Fresh Pond Day May 8, 10−2pm Fresh Pond and Maher Park, 650 Concord Ave. www.cambridgema.gov/CWD/Water_Week.cfm
DPW’s Container Gardening Workshop Saturday, May 22 12−3pm at Senior Center
Central Square Farmers’ Market Opening Monday, May 14 12-6pm on Bishop Allen Drive
Financing your Solar Project May 27, 6:00−8pm, City Hall Annex, 2nd Floor Meeting Room
New Riverside Neighborhood Park Opening Thursday, June 3 5pm
Cambridge River Festival Saturday, June 5, 12−6pm, rain or shine
City Dance Friday, June 25, 7−11pm In Mass. Ave, in front of City Hall
DCR and Gold Star Mothers’ Pool Openings June 28−August 29
Urban Ag Fair Sunday, September 19, 12−5pm, Harvard Square; followed by RiverSing
Danehy Park Day Saturday, September 25, 11−4
Cambridgeport History Day Saturday, October 2, Dana Park times tba