The Douglass Street Tenants Organization will present a petition including over 600 signatures to the Cambridge City Council at an open hearing tonight, opposing the planned demolition of a Central Square apartment building and the construction of a McDonald's restaurant in its place.
The petition protests the 125-year-old building's future destruction, stating it will mean the loss of much-needed low-cost housing, and the addition of one more restaurant in already congested Central Square.
"If the public is there in mass it will show the city council that it's not just a few people on Douglass Street who are complaining," Jean Lane of the tenants' group said.
The apartment building's owner, George Rothman of Newton, said yesterday, "I don't understand these people who want to preserve the building. It's in deplorable condition, looks like a sore thumb and putting in a more modernistic building would enhance the neighborhood's value."
A representative from McDonald's was asked to the hearing but Lane said "it's much easier for them not to show up, not to implicate themselves and to leave the dirty work to Rothman."
Lane said that despite McDonald's announced policy of concern for the public, they have ignored the "many letters of protest" from Cambridge residents. No one from McDonald's was available for comment.