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Cambridge Council Discusses Citywide Plan

By Joanie D Timmins, Crimson Staff Writer

The Cambridge City Council discussed the Strategic Recommendations for a Citywide Plan, a project led by City Manager Richard C. Rossi in cooperation with a team of outside consultants, at its regular meeting Monday.

The plan was created in response to City Council interest earlier this year in an outline of goals and recommendations to guide future change in Cambridge and in light of recent complaints from Cambridge residents regarding a perceived lack of communication from the government as well as development and noise in the neighborhoods.

The Citywide Plan discusses themes of transportation in Cambridge, sustaining and encouraging social equity and diversity, enhancing economic infrastructure, and creating safe public spaces to encourage community cohesion and interaction.

“What we are seeing in these discussions is a cultural shift in the community that happens in every community every so often,” City Councillor Marc C. McGovern said. “We want to make sure that as we are improving the neighborhoods, we are keeping in mind that it is a place for local kids to congregate.… We cannot push out the local teenagers.”

During the public comments section of the meeting, Cambridge residents offered feedback on the state of the city. Resident Carol O’Hare complained about the increase in noise throughout the neighborhoods in Cambridge.

“We are being inundated with extraneous unnecessary noise more and more,” said O’Hare, who suggested requiring mufflers for automobiles and limiting hours of construction and landscape services.

Cambridge resident Cathy Hoffman expressed her concerns about the increase in development in Cambridge and the future of the city’s historic neighborhoods.

“The growth of commercial projects and innovation industries has disproportionately undone the livelihood of the lower income, older, diverse, artistic neighborhoods,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman also expressed her support for streamlined public information to “facilitate dialogue and spread information.”

Cambridge Mayor David P. Maher concluded the discussion by suggesting that dialogue on the issue will continue.

“We live in an old manufacturing community with a street grid laid out well over 100 years ago…. We are adapting to meet todays needs,” Maher said. “Places we know are not going to look the same 10 years from now. It is my hope that the integrity of our neighborhoods remains solid and the same.”

“I am very hopeful about this process and the community,” he said.

At the meeting, the councilors also discussed the feasibility of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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