Teen Spaces, Tenant Protection, and More!
URBAN RENEWAL FOR WINTER HILL
Mixed-use development planned at former Star Market on Broadway
The long-abandoned Star Market on Broadway in Winter Hill is moving closer to a new life.
Developers presented their latest revisions for the mixed-use development at a meeting of the Somerville Redevelopment Authority last Wednesday. The current plan includes about 300 residential units integrated with retail and open space.
Dedicated Spaces for Teens
Three community spaces will provide teen programming this summer while efforts begin to shape a long-awaited permanent space designed by and for teens.
On Friday, June 10, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and Somerville Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper announced that the City will open three temporary spaces for teens to relax and socialize, enjoy events and activities, and have access to City social workers and other services this summer:
Somerville Public Library, Central Branch (79 Highland Avenue): The Teen Room at the Central Library offers manga, comics, and teen fiction in a welcoming, comfortable space. Summer programs include weekly lawn games, video game nights, a summer reading challenge with prizes, and more. Open during regular Central Library hours. Ages 13+.
Edgerly Education Center (33 Cross St.): Starting Monday, June 13, the Edgerly Education Center will offer a dedicated space for teens with crafts, snacks, games, and more. Enter on the Otis Street side. Open weekdays, 2:30 to 8:00 p.m. Ages 14+.
Powderhouse Park (838 Broadway): Starting Tuesday, July 5, teens are welcome to spend afternoons at the Powderhouse Park building. Drop by for food, activities, creative programming, and more. Open weekdays, 2:30 to 8:00 p.m. Ages 14+.
This summer, the City will also begin efforts to identify a permanent home for a teen center, while continuing to engage youth in the process of creating and shaping that space.
“The community has been calling for a teen center in Somerville for decades,” said Ballantyne, “and our teens can’t wait any longer. We’ve heard student input in a variety of venues. They told us they want safe, fun, and accessible spaces where they can be themselves. They want options across the city so that all teens can enjoy them. We’ve heard their feedback and are providing three temporary spaces while we explore more long-term possibilities.”
Reading Frederick Douglass Together at Bow Market
The Somerville Museum, along with the Community Action Agency of Somerville, will host its fourth annual reading of Frederick Douglass’ influential address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” next Thursday, June 30 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Bow Market.
The public is invited to join in this reading and discussion of one of Douglass’ most famous speeches, which he delivered on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, NY, to the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. The reading and discussion will be led by Project Scholar Kyera Singleton, who is Executive Director of the Royal House and Slave Quarters in Medford. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in the Department of American Culture, and she serves as an American Democracy Fellow at the Warren Center at Harvard University.
Attendees are encouraged to participate by queuing up to read passages of Douglass’ stirring speech, followed by an open discussion. This event is free and all are encouraged to attend and participate.
Somerville is one of many communities across the Commonwealth that will read Douglass’ address together and reflect on our past and present. This program is organized and sponsored by Mass Humanities, which provided funding through “A More Perfect Union,” a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
New Requirements to Protect Tenants
The City of Somerville recently passed an amendment to its Housing Stability Notification Act to significantly expand awareness of tenant protections.
The HSNA requires landlords and foreclosing owners to provide a notice of basic housing rights and resources at the end of a tenancy. The new amendment, which goes into effect July 13, requires landlords to provide tenants with information about their rights and resources at the start of tenancy as well. The new rule applies to all tenancies, whether oral or written, regardless of length.
The required documents must be given to the tenant either by hand or by certified mail, and by email, if known, within five days of the start of the tenancy. The documents must be provided in the tenant’s primary language, if available. The City will make all required documents available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Nepali, both online and at City Hall.
Somerville’s eviction moratorium ends on June 30. Any residents facing displacement or in need of housing assistance are urged to contact the Office of Housing Stability at 617-625-6600, ext. 2581, or to fill out a referral form online. The Office of Housing Stability can help secure funds for tenants who need rental assistance, and for qualifying owner-occupants to cover lost rent, mortgage arrears, and other home-related expenses.
Photo Credit: “Nope, still in Somerville … or am I?” Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.
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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.