Somerville receives $1.8 million for Green Line planning

by Tom Nash on October 21, 2010

The City of Somerville will be receiving $1.8 million in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help plan for the coming Green Line extension.

The city made its case for the funding, referred to as a Community Challenge Funding Grant, to Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Michael Capuano, a former Somerville mayor, earlier this year. Kerry’s office announced the funding decision yesterday.

“A streamlined, modernized transit system means a better commute for everyone who lives or works in Somerville,” Kerry said in a statement.

City spokesman Michael Meehan said the funding will go toward establishing zoning changes in the areas around the six planned Green Line stops.

While the city has already tackled issues regarding the Green Line in its Union Square and Broadway rezoning initiatives, Meehan said the funding would allow for a more comprehensive plan and the establishment of a “land bank” that would allow developers to focus on building affordable housing.

“If you just stick in a station and cross your fingers, you don’t know what you’re going to get,” city spokesman Michael Meehan said. “We want to make sure there’s a good mix of commercial and residential development so that we have public squares where people live and can frequent local businesses.”

The exact nature of the new zoning has yet to take shape, and the only firm deadline for the plans is 2015, when the Green Line extension is scheduled be complete.

“A lot of people have to have input on this,” Meehan added. “Some are going to float to the top and some are going to sink to the bottom.”

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