Alewife Study Group > W. R. Grace site > community feedback > Nov. 16 1995, objections to developer's plans Search 

Objections to Grace site plans of Spaulding and Slye, developers

Editorial To Cambridge Chronicle, November 16, 1995-Group Says Story Inaccurate:

The Alewife Study Group is pleased that David Vickery, developer of the W. R. Grace site, is interested in open and honest communication. As he said in the November 2, Chronicle, "You don't conceal information from the neighborhood. You have to keep people informed." In that spirit, we offer some factual corrections. (We thank the Chronicle for acknowledging several of these inaccuracies. )

At the Alewife Study Group's October 24, meeting, mentioned in the Chronicle article, Mr. Vickery presented a revised version of the development plan. Unfortunately, the new plan does not look much different from the old. Contrary to the article's implications, the total size of the development has not shrunk by some 60,000 square feet, but remains roughly 300,000 square feet of superstore, retail, restaurant and hotel. The superstore is closer to the MBTA headhouse and 6,000 square feet smaller, as residents desired. However, 60,000 square feet of retail is now up against both the Harvey and the Whittemore neighborhoods.

The article also minimizes the diversity of participants in Alewife Study Group meetings, stating that just ten "citizens" attended our October 24, meeting. Again, this is inaccurate. Thirty-three signed our attendance sheets. Among the participants were senior citizens, residents from all three abutting neighborhoods--including residents of Jefferson Park, Alewife Brook Apartments, and Fresh Pond Apartments--and city councillors and administrators. We value the contribution of all, and continue to strive for increased participation. Mr. Vickery and The Chronicle do a disservice to members of the community by downplaying their important contributions.

Mr. Vickery has repeatedly claimed that existing permits allow him to begin building immediately one million square feet of office space without further input from the community. Apparently, Mr. Vickery feels that North Cambridge residents, who would bear the brunt of traffic, pollution, and crime, (as well as any benefits), should not influence plans for the Grace site.

Both plans add significantly more traffic to already crowded roads. The superstore alone would generate a minimum of 3.5 million car trips per year, the complete office plan one million fewer. Office plan or superstore is a false choice, and contradicts Mr. Vickery's asserted commitment to working with the community.

The Alewife Study Group attracts people of all ages and all points-of-view from each abutting neighborhood. We are diverse in membership but united in goals: before any development takes place, residents must be satisfied that the site is clean and the traffic manageable.

The above was submitted by Karen Coker, Joel Nogic and Gail Pendleton of the Alewife Study Group

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