Reality Bites by James A. Norton

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You need to keep the old with the new, or the new will become the old and never grow into something special.

That’s not an obscure movie quote, that’s something I said at a public meeting about a decade ago. I was trying to explain to people who were stuck in a 1970’s and 1980”s mentality about creating something new with no sense of history, local or otherwise. Remember when we used to knock down 100 year old school buildings to build the crappy “new” schools that are almost all gone less than 40 years later?

So now Assembly Row is about to have it’s own Orange Line T Stop – something people said would never happen when it was a twinkle in someone’s eye. The good news is that it won’t just be a flashy new piece of brushed aluminum – it will be a part of something bigger. The whole area has the brand new and fresh vibe, but you also get a sense of history when you walk around the property.

The best part for me personally is the fact that they didn’t force the Winter Hill Yacht Club to leave. I’ve never been a member there, but I know a lot of the members – and I have been to many functions there over the years. A really fun bunch of people who like to enjoy their downtime and give something back to the community when they can.

Evidence of which was the Veteran’s Cruise the Yacht Club hosted this past weekend. It’s worth-while events like this that make the Club an important part of what’s going on with the new look of Somerville’s coastline. It’s also a nod to the comfort of things we are comfortable with – what helps make change and newness not so cold and unfamiliar.

The Mayor, in conjunction with the developers of Assembly Row and organizations like the Lions, Masons and the Winter Hill Yacht Club, are committed to keeping a local flavor, or history if you like, with the growth of the area and a healthy nod to the old school flavor of local goodness that will never, ever go away. That’s better than knocking down buildings and pouring asphalt everywhere, isn’t it? #GMK

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