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It was such a busy past few months for the City Council and there is much to look forward to in the new year. Congratulations to the incoming members of the City Council – it is hard to believe that I will be a relative veteran with two years under my belt, but I am confident that our new Council will have a great mix of expertise, interests, and backgrounds. I also want to offer my appreciation to those who ran and did not win. Putting yourself out there in a public campaign is no easy thing to do these days and just running is courageous. There are so many possible ways to get involved in Framingham City government and I hope that each of you will seek out these opportunities.
There are several areas that I am looking forward to addressing in the New Year.
Framingham has more than its share of new apartments coming into our City or recently added including Mt. Wayte, several projects downtown, Millwood, Pleasant Street and the potential for a mixed-use project at Nobscot. It is time to hit the brakes. I would be open to at the very least discussing a moratorium on new residential construction while we take time to understand the impact of these projects.
A related issue to #1 is traffic, which I hear from constituents about more than any other issue. We can’t turn the clock back on the number of cars on the road, but there are a number of measures we can take to nibble away at this problem: 1. Address our most problematic intersections including Edgell/Central and Edgell/Water 2. Demand that the State work to make public transportation more attractive by reducing costs and increasing reliability. 3. Complete the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, which will allow walkers and biker riders to travel from Route 20 to Framingham Centre without dealing with traffic. 4. Work with our School Department to build a southside school decreasing the need for swarms of buses criss-crossing the city every morning and afternoon.
Work with the administration to find strategic reductions. This budget cycle and an energized finance committee should be able to dig into department budgets and try to find areas where spending could be reduced, resources consolidated, and excess eliminated. We have just scratched the surface with this over the past two years.
It is time to take aggressive action and lead the way on sustainability in Framingham. A couple measures that we should take ASAP include requiring alternative energy sources such as solar and geothermal for all future apartments and mixed-used developments, adopting the Community Preservation Act (CPA) so that we can protect Framingham’s open space from future development, and requiring that all future municipal vehicles be green.
Some other items that the City Council has addressed recently:
- Passed an ordinance ensuring that the Callahan Center will remain dedicated to the needs of Framingham seniors
- Advanced a plan to clean up and redesign Mary Dennison Park into one of the jewels of Framingham with sports fields, a playground, and a spray park
- Funded a new diversity officer position for the City of Framingham
- Approved police contracts that should allow the City to better attract and retain police officers
Please note that all City Council meetings are now on Facebook Live. This means that if you are a Facebook user, you can watch our meetings from a smartphone, tablet, or your computer and receive notifications when our meeting is about to go live. To make sure you receive these notifications, visit our facebook page at htttps://www.facebook.com/framinghamcitycouncil/ and like or follow the Framingham City Council.
Events coming up:
- Tuesday, November 26 at 3 pm – Framingham Centre cultural district meeting at Volturno
- Tuesday, November 26 at 7 pm – Traffic Commission focused on the Pheasant Hill Neighborhood
- Tuesday, November 26 at 7:30 – Finance Committee
- Sunday, December 1 at 3 pm – Nobscot Neighbors meeting at 841 Edmands Road
- Sunday, December 1 at 4 pm – Framingham FORCE vigil at First Parish Church
- Tuesday, December 3 at 7:15 pm – City Council
- Thursday, December 5 at 6:30 pm – Edgell/Central Intersection public hearing by Mass. DOT
I hope that this newsletter was helpful. Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or concerns.