Council Gives Jobs Priority Over Housing in Kendall Sq.

The Cambridge City Council Monday night unanimously ordered the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) to revise its plans for developing Kendall Square to place a higher priority on developing blue-collar and non-professional white-collar jobs.

The council also voted, 8-1, to scrap the CRA's previous plans for urban renewal. The previous plan called for one million square feet of office space, 400 luxury apartments and townhouses, 400 hotel suites, a retail shopping mall and a 2800-car garage.

Two local community groups have protested against several major CRA proposals, charging the plans would have broadened Cambridge's tax-base at the price of continuing widespread unemployment and inadequate low-income housing for the East Cambridge neighborhood bordering the development areas.

The council by an 8-1 margin rejected a motion by Councillor Saundra Graham that would have given second highest priority in the plan to low-and moderate-income housing.

Although new housing was the original goal of the CRA when it was organized with the Federal Government in 1957, the agency since the early 1960s has been planning construction projects such as NASA research and development facilities and convention halls.


Councillor Francis H. Duehay '55, said yesterday that his colleagues had voted against Graham's housing motion because the CRA could work better given one goal at a time.

But Graham said yesterday that this is a "weak excuse" because "the CRA was well able to design a complex providing both employment and expensive housing for white-collar professionals.

Why can't they do this for the people with low incomes who presently live in Cambridge?" she asked.

Graham said she considers the area bounded by MIT, the Charles and East Cambridge an optimal location for a housing development to replace nearby substandard housing.

Duehay said that the majority of the council's members felt housing of any type would be "impractical and undesirable" and that "most people in Cambridge are against housing on that site."

At its Monday meeting, the council approved a special Task Force with broad citizen participation to further study community concerns which the CRA may overlook