Empty or inactive store fronts are a problem in every business district. That is why the ECBA focus’s alot of our effort towards creating an atmosphere that is attractive to new business, and builds relationships with landlords to help attract new and responsible business.
ECBA faces a challenge of covering a very large, mostly linear, area. At the time ECBA was establishing, the blocks between the tracks and 6th St were pitted with vacancies, but business owners recognized the potential. Three years later we are proud to see how these spaces have evolved.
We have welcomed Threla, which specializes in hand made beauty products, Two Little Owls Day Care, one of 3 new daycares in East Cambridge, a massuese, the New England Tango Academy, and Cafe Kafofo (we finally have a coffee shop). One of our greatest accomplishment has come in the form of the Pop-Theatre, a Pet Shop, and Music School.
The Blue Building on the corner of 7th had long been vacant and many hoped something, anything would open there. The first business to apply for licenseing there was a Subway Sandwich Shop. Suddently the ECBA was faced with its first delemia as an organization. While vacant store fronts were not good for anyone, a national fast food chain threatened to take root in what has been a small independantly owned business district (not to mention one that was alread served by a number of local indepedant sandwich shops). After a long process the application for a zoning variance that would have paved the way was denied. During the process ECBA maintained a relationship with the landlord, who had concerns about how long he may remain vacant, but we maintained that the right tenant would present itself.
Tonight at 7pm the Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM) will be at the East Cambridge Planning Team meeting at the East End House.
DCAM will be briefing residents on the process of putting the Edward J. Sullivan Court house out to bid and how the building could be reused.
The future use of the building will certainly have an impact on the neighborhood so do take some time to tell them what you would like to see happen there.
DCAM was very responsive to some ECBA suggestions after our meeting and did respond to the requests to better maintain the vegetation and clean up the trash that seems to collect in the area.
Cynthia Woods, Music Director
THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD!
Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 4:00 PM
55 Davis Square
Internet Symphony No. 1 (Eroica) … Tan Dun
The Little Engine that Could … Allen Feinstein (book by Watty Piper)
Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major … Joseph Haydn
Adults: $10 (advance), $15 (door)
Seniors/Students: $8 (advance), $12 (door)
Children Under 12: $5 (all times)
Tickets can be purchased online through http://www.cambridgesymphony.org/
At the January 3rd ECBA monthly meeting hosted by Vinfen, ECBA members were joined by John Pelletier of the City of Cambridge’s CitySmart Program and representatives from the State’s Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM).
CitySmart is a program designed to encourage the use of more sustainable transportation for all kinds of trips. It was a three year grant funded program and just finished up in East Cambridge. John shared the results of the surveys and the information gathered during his time working within the East Cambridge neighborhood. This is the third year of the program and by far showed the most successful results. The survey reached 17% of East Cambridge households and showed that residents are very in tune with the transportation options around us. John will be posting the full report on their web page in the coming days.
Some interesting information for ECBA to consider is that the most popular events participants would most likely attend in their neighborhood are; themed walks (63%), support local business events (47%), Park/neighborhood cleanups (44%), community meeting on neighborhood improvements (39%) or transportation improvements (38%), and general neighborhood walks or themed bike rides (both 34%). We have already hosted many of the mentioned events, so its encouraging to see a strong desire to have the continue and hopefully evolve into larger neighborhood events.
The Division of Capital and Asset Management (DCAM) approached the ECBA in order to reach the business community and solicit feedback on the future of the Sullivan Courthouse. We were joined by Commissioner Carole Cornelison and Acting Deputy Commissioner Dana Harrell who explained the process currently underway. Having no interest in reuse of the building in state or local government , DCAM is seeking requests for proposals for the property. They stated that world wide interest has been shown in the building due to the proximity to Kendall Square. DCAM has hosted three tours of the building and a full list of interested parties having taken a tour is posted on their website.
Many ECBA members expressed concerns about how the building will blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, how parking would be handled by new owners, and overall building appearance. DCAM felt that an active ground floor use could be achieved through the sale process and by working with the City and city’s zoning process. It was also noted that a complimentary use to that of the nearby Multicultural Arts Center may be beneficial as well as a desire to see the building’s outer skin upgraded to something more attractive.
RFP’s are due at the beginning of February and a proposal should be selected some time in June.
ECBA will continue to monitor this project and hopes to communicate concerns and ideas with DCAM. We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments with us as we can relay them to DCAM for consideration.
November brings the yearly elections for ECBA and this year we had some changes in both the board and officer positions. Firstly, the board, in an effort to foster more involvement from members voted to expand the number of board positions from 7 to 9.
Elected to the 2 new spots were Mark Rogers (3 year term) of Rogers Funeral Home and Stephen LaMaster (2 year term) of Vinfen.
Re-elected to the board for another 3 year term were Teodora Silva of Alegria Dental and Andrew Montone of Cambridge Art and Frame.
Diane Swierczynski was elected to finish the term of Bob Salines who has stepped down after the sale of Pug’s Bar and Grill
Bob has played a significant role in establishing the ECBA and keeping things moving during the first three years. Bob is also responsible for the original Rib Fest, which was an annually June BBQ on Fulkerson Street. Bob was also the first to bring outdoor seating to Cambridge St. at Pug’s Bar and Grill. A big thanks to Bob for the work that he has done with the ECBA and for always putting the East Cambridge neighborhood at the forefront of many business decisions.
Finally, Carl Fantasia of New Deal Fish Market has stepped down as president (don’t worry, we made him the treasurer so he is still around). The work that Carl has put into the ECBA has been immeasurable. Carl has always recognized the positve impact the business communtiy can play in making a neighbohood great and the things we have accomplished working together has exceeded all expectation.
So thanks to Carl for his service, and …
..c ongratualtion to Patrick Magee of Atwood’s Tavern who has been elected to take over the reigns as president and is eager to keep ECBA moving in a positve direction.
Thursday, December 8th ENJOY LOCAL holiday shopping for a change! Escape the malls and journey to Inman Square to buy holiday gifts from our unique and locally-owned shops. In addition, shoppers may see holiday carolers, live mannequins, take part in a scavenger hunt, experience art and music, or relax and enjoy a meal at one of the Square’s twenty-plus restaurants.
For event updates, visit www.InmanSquare.com or check out the event on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/inman-on-fb