Editorial | Somerville development chance for engagement
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 08:10
It is in our best interest as Tufts students to be engaged in the development of our surrounding communities of Somerville and Medford.
With this in mind, news that two community sites just a few blocks from campus, a school on Powderhouse Road near Teele Square and a parking lot near the Davis Square T stop, may be in the process of being redeveloped is an exciting opportunity.
Tufts students should take note of Somerville Director of Planning George Porakis’s announcement at a public neighborhood meeting last Thursday, as reported first by Somerville Patch, of the town’s intention to request proposals for the redevelopment of the Powder House School near Teele Square, which has been vacant since 2003. The town intends to entertain a number of ideas for the lot, including uses ranging from residences to offices and retail.
Somerville’s government officials have also been considering this fall the possibility of attracting a hotel to develop space at the intersection of Day and Herbert Streets in Davis Square, according to another Patch report. The area currently is used as parking space, and hosts the weekly Davis Square Farmer’s Market.
The debate over how these areas are to be changed offers Tufts students a chance to voice their opinions. The town has hosted public neighborhood meetings on similar issues in the past, and will surely do so again in the coming months.
Though most of us will only be on campus for four years, this should not be a limit on our ability to participate. Somerville in particular has seen a great deal of change over the last few decades, as new businesses and uses for space have revitalized both Davis and Teele Squares.
As participants in community discussions, Tufts students should be part of this continued development. Students in fields ranging from economics to political science to urban planning and development to community health all likely have diverse and creative ideas, and should use the opportunity at town meetings to bring their ideas about what the town should do with these two sites to the forefront. We may only be around individually for four years, but our influence on the continued changes in our community can last for far longer.