Somerville Speakup Line: Clarendon Hill’s Future

Dear Billy T and Somerville Speakup Line,

I need this put out for Clarendon:

It is our jobs as humans, to take care of each other, to take care of our families, ourselves, and to take care of our communities. It is our job to protect ourselves from losing control of our cities, and keep watch on them. It is our job to make them better, but also to fight against those who threaten to take our community values away from us.

If Clarendon Hill’s Developers (Preservation of Affordable Housing, Somerville Housing Authority, Somerville Community Corp, and Gate Residential aka Red Gate) are able to convince the public, that saying they “don’t have enough money” to rebuild all of our current 216 state units is acceptable, and it moves forward, I have to wonder how many people can sit here and say they remember the purpose of this project.

I was under the impression that this project was to be done for residents – residents who have desperately needed healthy and safe housing for our families, our elderly, our veterans, our disabled, and for our children, for several years.

It is the purpose of the Developers tonight, to discuss Traffic and Parking issues of the project. This is a key piece that also needs to be sorted out and I don’t disagree, but since when was Traffic and Parking more important than the lives of the residents and future Clarendon residents who will be the most affected by the project?

Since when, was the right thing to do, to force residents to vote a YES or a NO on a project that is not fully favorable to their families, future Clarendon families, or towards the City’s values?

I know many people have seen my posts online. Some might even be put-off by it I’m sure. To those that are, or who see our (Clarendon Residents) posts as ‘annoying’ or ‘complaining”, I ask you to please put yourselves in our shoes. This is OUR lives. Every decision that is made in this project affects our families directly, not yours.

Maybe the traffic will be heavier for you during the construction. You may get to work later, have to wake up later. It’s going to suck more than it already does, that is true. But it’s temporary. It’ll pass and you will adjust. When it’s done, traffic will become more fluid and you will be able to sleep in a little longer once again.

If this project happens, traffic is the last thing on our minds. Our concerns are fears. Legitimate fears. Eviction while relocated, transportation for our elderly and disabled to get the the grocery store that is no longer a 30 second walk away, new schools for some families with students, different areas and neighborhoods, different communities, and we don’t have answers to all of our questions.

We are lucky to have lived at Clarendon, in a way, because we are our own place that I often refered to as an invisible community, but it is our own community.

Today we are not invisible any more. Today we are becoming indivisible. We are friends, some of us have become family over the years. We do things for each other. Our neighbors cook food for each other, give each other a ride somewhere when needed, run errands, help shovel each others cars out when it snows, we help carry groceries for our elderly who live on the second and third floors with no elevators. Clarendon is special. Clarendon still has neighborliness, Clarendon still has a solid sense of what a community is.

We have an understanding here, between most residents, that we are all human no matter where we come from or how we got here – and most of us treat each other that way. We are equals. We deserve a plan that declares that we are equals. That our families and future families will be protected throughout this long redevelopment process. A process that has some of us being relocated far away from what we have come to know.

I want to ask the Developers, our Community, our Media, and our City. PLEASE help us replace all of our 216 state units. Do not let them gentrify us. Do not let them take away what makes Clarendon special. Do not let them take away “home”.

Jessica Turner


Clarendon Residents United


Jessica Turner


Clarendon Residents United

Leave a Reply