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Union Square Open Space Plan

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Union Square Open Space Plan

Union Square Open Space Plan

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  • 1. Union Square Open Space Plan 2008-2013 Public Meeting January 6, 2009 Aldermanic Chambers Somerville City Hall
  • 2. Union Square Open Space Plan Tonight’s Agenda: Open Space and Recreation Plan (2008-2013)--overview Union Square Open Space Facts Accomplishments (2003-2008) Rezoning Proposal Union Square Open Space Plan Purpose Community Needs Goals and Policies Five-Year Action Plan Next Steps
  • 3. Open Space and Recreation Plan OVERVIEW
  • 4. Open Space and Recreation Plan WHAT: Five-year, citywide action plan WHY: Used to secure certain state grants & serves as a public record of City open space data, goals, and strategic vision 2002-2007 Urban Self Help funding for parks and open space projects: $2,211,786 HOW: OSPCD is currently revising document; public process for comment and review
  • 5. Open Space and Recreation Plan Five-year strategic action plan on record with MA EOEEA City Revision Process: September 2007-December 2008 Submittal Date: December 2008 (DRAFT) February 2009 (FINAL)—pending BOA approval Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Division of Conservation Services
  • 6. Somerville’s public parks & open spaces are intensely used. • The City of Somerville is 4.1 square miles in size. Population is nearly 77,478 people, or about 29.5 people per acre • Total public open space is 141 acres or 5.37% of the city • Only 45% (63.52 acres) of the public open space is owned by the City of Somerville. This includes parks, school playgrounds, fields, cemeteries, and other open space lots • The City manages 46 parks, playgrounds, and ball fields for residents
  • 7. Union Square OPEN SPACE FACTS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, REZONING PROPOSAL
  • 8. Union Square—Open Space Facts Union Square Study Area occupies approximately .54 square miles 68% of parcels and 33% of land area used for residential purposes Public open space makes up 4.3% of land area in Union Square (approximately 15 acres). Public parks and green space include: • Union Square Plaza • Prospect Hill Park • Corbett-McKenna Park • Lincoln Park • Stone Place Park • Milk Row Cemetery • Walnut Street Park • Nunziato Field and OLRA • Community Growing Center • Quincy Street Park
  • 9. Union Square: Accomplishments Union Square Parks Projects (2003-2008) Year Project Owner Acres Class Complete Allen Street Community Garden City 0.12 New 2007 Corbett-McKenna Park & City 0.61 Renovation 2004 Playground Ed Leathers Community Park & City 0.70 New 2008 OLRA 2006 Milk Row Cemetery City 0.72 Renovation (Phase I) Palmacci Playground City 0.08 Renovation 2005 Stone Place Park City 0.12 Renovation 2007
  • 10. Accomplishments: Stone Place Park • Changing neighborhood demographics and resident participation changed small Union Square pocket park from sunken tot lot to quiet neighborhood gathering spot • Park is used by residents, Union Square businesses and visitors: popular lunch spot • Features: lawn, stone wall, colorful benches, new shrub plantings and grasses, three-season color, privacy screening for neighbors
  • 11. Accomplishments: Ed Leathers Community Park • Opened August 2008; former site of Kemp Nuts Factory • “Green” design followed intensive community input • Features: extensive lawn and open space, large shade trees, flowering shrubs, play opportunities for children, OLRA for dogs, and elevated terrace/informal stage
  • 12. Accomplishments: Corbett-McKenna Park • Located next to the famous Prospect Hill Tower, overlooking the City of Somerville and the Boston skyline • City allocated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the park’s renovation in 2003; park re- opened in 2004 • Features: Brightly colored, historically themed space built on two levels; basketball court, play structures for different age groups, a water feature, and a balcony deck from which visitors can enjoy the splendid view
  • 13. Other Accomplishments Collaborations with Arts Commission and Union Square Main Streets (USMS) Programming of unique events: • Fluff Festival • “Second Wednesdays” Events • Winter Craft Market • Prospect Hill Flag Raising • Spring and Fall Cleanups • Harvest Festival • Union Square Farmers Market Union Square Farmers Market
  • 14. Rezoning Proposal The rezoning proposal supports an increase in publicly accessible open space on private property. Open Space Provisions: Usable Open Space (TOD): 10-15% of parcel set aside as open space Payment In Lieu of Open Space (TOD): Developer contributes funds to the City instead of providing usable open space; funds used for park acquisition, construction, or renovation Donation of Open Space (TOD): Developer donates 40,000 square-feet of open space to City in return for structure-height increase to 150 feet
  • 15. Accomplishments: Rezoning Proposal
  • 16. Union Square Open Space Plan (USOSP) PURPOSE, COMMUNITY NEEDS, GOALS & POLICIES, FIVE-YEAR ACTION PLAN
  • 17. USOSP: Purpose The purpose of the USOSP is to: Focus on a distinct area of Somerville that will be significantly enhanced by Green Line Extension Guide future development to ensure that accessible open space is designed to meet community needs and goals Establish goals to improve and increase public open space in Union Square Establish policies for the development of usable open space on private property
  • 18. Union Square: Community Needs Despite accomplishments, Union Square community has expressed a need for: Additional open space Public gathering space Active open space for children Green open space / contemplative open space Street trees and streetscape Bicycle and pedestrian open space and connectivity Water features Public art
  • 19. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies Policy #1 Usable open space on private property in Union Square should follow the following guidelines: Usable open space must be designed in a manner that clearly indicates that it is open to the public New useable open space should respond to identified types and features of open space that are needed in the area Planted green space is generally encouraged in privately owned usable open space “Hardscaped” plazas should be placed primarily in commercial cores
  • 20. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies Policy #2 The provision of new land for usable open space is a priority Developer proposals for payment in lieu of open space should only be approved when the proposed development truly cannot produce open space
  • 21. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies Policy #3 Union Square Plaza should retain its dominance as the central gathering point and activity area for the neighborhood Programming of the space should take into account the different types of users, and should include a diverse mix of activities to meet the needs of these users
  • 22. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies Policy #4 Four key vistas within Union Square should be preserved to maintain the area’s unique character: View north along Prospect Street toward the Post Office View up Prospect Hill toward the Prospect Hill Tower View east along Somerville Avenue from intersection at Bow Street toward the historic City fire station View north along Webster Street toward the intersection of Bow Street and Somerville Avenue
  • 23. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies
  • 24. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies Policy #5 Gateways into the Union Square area should be enhanced so that visitors recognize they have entered a distinct area of the city of Somerville
  • 25. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies Policy #6 The provision of outdoor public art should be strongly encouraged throughout Union Square on both public and private property ArtsUnion and OSPCD commissioned local artisans to design new streetscape architecture in 2005
  • 26. Union Square Open Space Goals & Policies Policy #7 The construction of a community path aligned with the Green Line Extension spur should be strongly encouraged Private properties should be required to dedicate (and preferably construct) their portion of the path as a condition of special permit approval Community path will add approximately 1.4 acres of open space to Somerville
  • 27. USOSP: Five-year Action Plan Five-Year Action Plan Goals 1. Renovate Parks and Open Space 2. Acquire Additional Land 3. Analyze and Improve Access to Public Open Space 4. Increase Tree Canopy and Green Spaces 5. Increase Off-Leash Recreational Areas (OLRAs) and Create New Skate Park 6. Raise the Bar for Sustainable Practices 7. Reduce Brownfields 8. Set Vision through Strategic Planning Documents
  • 28. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
  • 29. NEXT STEPS Draft Open Space & Recreation Plan is currently available on City website for public review and comment BOA Committee on Housing and Community Development to schedule a meeting to review Plan Plan approval by BOA anticipated in mid-February 2009 Final Plan to be submitted to DCS by early spring 2009 Final Plan will be available on City website and paper copies distributed to libraries and other public facilities
  • 30. PUBLIC COMMENTS MAY BE SENT TO: Mail Ellen Schneider Landscape Project Manager City Hall, OSPCD 93 Highland Avenue Somerville, MA 02143 Phone 617-625-6600, Ext. 2529 Email eschneider@somervillema.gov
  • 31. CONTACT INFORMATION Monica Lamboy mlamboy@somervillema.gov Executive Director, OSPCD Madeleine Masters mmasters@somervillema.gov Director of Planning and Zoning Rob May rmay@somervillema.gov Director of Economic Development Alderman Maryann Heuston mheuston@somervillema.gov (Ward 2) Alderman Thomas Taylor ttaylor@somervillema.gov (Ward 3) Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development City of Somerville, 93 Highland Avenue Somerville, MA 02143 617-625-6600 x 2500 www.somervillema.gov
  • 32. THANK YOU for your time. There will now be an opportunity for public questions and comments.

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