Cambridge, Mass. Community Reacts to Harvard Square Changes - NECN


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Cambridge, Mass. Community Reacts to Harvard Square Changes



    Mass. Community Reacts as Cambridge Changes

    The Cambridge Historical Commission held a public hearing to decide whether or not they should approve the remodeling of businesses in Harvard Square. (Published Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016)

    Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is seeing a lot changes.

    According to the Harvard Square Business Association, just in the past eight weeks, five businesses in Harvard Square have closed or moved, including Uno, Fire + Ice and The Tannery. And a total of seven new shops have already opened, or will be opening, in the next several weeks.

    Even more changes could be coming soon.

    James Williamson has lived in Cambridge for over 40 years. He's against all the changes.

    "People are ready to start saying, 'enough,'" expressed Williamson. "We don't want to be a suburban style shopping mall."

    Thursday night, dozens of residents and business owners packed the Cambridge Historical Commission public hearing at Cambridge City Hall. Commission members are trying to figure out whether or not to approve Equity One’s proposal to redevelop a couple buildings in Harvard Square, including the building that houses the Curious George store. The changes could displace a number of business owners.

    Denise Jillson, Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association, attended the public hearing.

    "We have found that through this public process, the end product is always better because people really do think about these things in a thoughtful way," Jillson told necn.

    "I like the changes, to be honest," said Arley Sanches, who works in Harvard Square. "It gives other businesses to expand and give them a shot.”

    "I think for the most part, they should keep some things the same," said Cambridge resident Michael Puckering. "It adds to the mystic of Cambridge."

    Whatever the Cambridge Historical Commission decides, officials say it will likely take 12 to 18 months before any changes could be made to the buildings in question. Officials say Equity One's proposal will have to be signed off by a couple more committees before it can get an official approval.

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