SCC is an active member of Union United - a coalition of stakeholders, including small business owners, residents, activists, immigrant groups, religious congregations, labor unions, and community-based organizations, working to ensure that the Union Square redevelopment process results in tangible benefits – not displacement – for the Union Square community.
Union United is a coalition with a plan to prevent displacement. We believe that we can have development without displacement, but it requires the community to play an active role in the decision-making process, as our lives and livelihoods will be determined by the redevelopment’s outcome. We believe the best way for local stakeholders to engage in the process is through a community benefits agreement.
A community benefits agreement (CBA) is a legal contract between a community coalition and a developer. Our proposed CBA includes specific demands that will ensure affordable housing, local jobs, workers’ rights, small businesses, community resources, open space, arts and culture, public safety, and participatory planning are part of the redevelopment. With a seat at the table, all community members will be able to take advantage of the benefits that the Green Line will bring.
For too long, low-income people and immigrants have been displaced from our neighborhoods, while profit is prioritized over the needs of the community. We envision equitable development that benefits everyone and keeps Union Square diverse, affordable, and accessible.
Recently, the Community Benefits Agreement was ratified with overwhelming support from the community (161 in favor, 2 against):
- The developer, US2, is committing to 90 units of affordable housing (the 20 percent requirement) as well as prioritizing 39 additional units in phase 1 of development.
- US2 will work with and support the existing businesses being directly impacted by development with relocation payments and good-faith lease negotiation.
- New development will use sustainable building practices, such as building to LEED gold and silver standards, reviewing and preparing roofs for solar panels, green roofs, and/or storm water reuse. The project will include over 3.5 acres of green and open space, with (pending some rezoning) three neighborhood parks.
- US2 will also support local artists through $25,000 a year to fund public art installations and performances, mostly distributed through grants by the Somerville Arts Council.
- In order to continue reviewing traffic and parking in Somerville, US2 will monitor traffic volumes for 10 years after substantial occupation begins.
Union United meets the First Thursday of every month at 6pm at CAS, 29 Allen St. For more information about Union United, visit our website.
Interested in joining? Email Rene Mardones. or call him at 617- 410 9913.