SCC committees and members are playing an active role in the Union United Coalition, a group of stakeholders working to ensure that the Union Square redevelopment results in tangible benefits — not displacement — for the Union Square community. The stakeholders include small business owners, residents, activists, immigrant groups, religious congregations, labor unions, and other community-based organizations.
On May 10, over 50 coalition members met to discuss the Union Square redevelopment process and begin to craft a community benefits agreement to be negotiated with the City and the master developer. Community benefits agreements, or CBAs, are legally enforceable contracts that have been used across the country to ensure that developments include community amenities like affordable housing, local hiring, and support for small businesses.
All coalition members (currently 13 organizations and more than 40 individuals) have signed a pledge affirming equitable outcomes like affordable housing, community space and resources, local jobs and workers’ rights, open and green space, public safety, support for small and local businesses, and transparent and participatory planning processes. These outcomes are reflected in Link Somerville’s equity standards, which the committee created to serve as a benchmark for equitable development along the Green Line corridor.
Union United has already gained considerable press, met with two of the shortlisted master developers and six aldermen to share community priorities and begin a dialogue about the CBA process. In the coming weeks, the coalition will meet with more aldermen, the other shortlisted developers, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority, the Civic Advisory Committee, the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, and the mayor. The coalition will also continue reaching out to more stakeholders, including resident groups. Ultimately, the coalition’s goal is to include language in the City’s Land Disposition Agreement with the Master Developer that stipulates a community benefits agreement.
Stay tuned for more information! If you’re interested in learning more about the coalition, please contact Mashael Majid at 617-776-5931 x228 or mmajid at somervillecdc.org.