By William Tauro
A few weeks ago I received a phone call from a Brickbottom resident who was upset with the current administration. This resident had told me that Mayor Joe Curtatone and Ward 2 City Counselor JT Scott has hung them out to dry after ramming part of a GLX Project ramp and a thirty foot (30’) barrier wall down their throats.
If you have an opportunity to drive down McGrath Highway onto Fitchburg Street in Somerville, you will notice the GLX Greenline Extension train-track ramp descending down from the new overhead train tracks to ground level tracks directly adjacent to the Brickbottom Artist Building that’s located on Fitchburg Street.
The ramp is just a stones-throw away from BrickBottom resident’s apartment windows.
To make the matter even worse, the small remaining space in between the Brickbottom building and the offramp, GLX is now installing a 30’ high foot barrier wall. A resident in serious doubt over the wall explained to us that “this barrier wall was explained to her that it will help to soundproof the train as it is chugging down the ramp 24 hours a day and just steps away.” She also stated her opinion that “the reality of the barrier wall will also deprive Brickbottom residents sunlight to that entire side of the building leaving them in the cold and now in darkness as well.”
This past week I was invited to and took a tour through the entire building on each floor. While on the tour I couldn’t help but notice that from every direction looking out the windows is that all you can see is GLX all around, just steps away from the Brickbottom property.
After speaking to multiple Brickbottom residents while on that tour who feel like their property rights have been violated,in my opinion is that the mayor and the ward-two Somerville City Councilor just basically allowed it to happen and told Brickbottom residents to live with it while invading their property rights.
If you would like to contribute to this story with your thoughts and concerns regarding this matter about the Brickbottom building area please feel free to email me at: Wm@aol.com to be heard.
This story is still developing…
About the Brickbottom District of Somerville
According to the Brickbottom District of Somerville website it reads:
In its early years, the Brickbottom District was a major site of brick making due to its clay-rich land. By the late 19th and through the first half of the 20th century, the District was a vital neighborhood of immigrants from all over the world. The residents worked, lived and played together in a cohesive and intermingled way. It was an urban place of houses, parks, factories and streets named after the trees that lined them.
Two of the remaining buildings from those times, which now house Brickbottom Artists Association and Joy Street Studios, had been a crucial part of the neighborhood, offering employment and nourishment. Brickbottom was home to The Great Atlantic and Pacific Teas & Co. Grocery Warehouse (the A & P) and Joy Street was first the New England Bakery and finally the Happy Home Baking Co.
Today the houses and most of the trees are gone, but the aging industrial landscape of the past is deceiving. Its gray appearance has not yet caught up to the artistic productivity inside the old A & P and the Happy Home Bakery. For the past 20 years, Brickbottom Artists Association has contributed to Somervilles vibrant art community as well as to the broader regional and national art scene. Its established presence and continued artistic clout inspires its newer neighbor, Joy Street Studios. The ever expanding community of artists at Joy Street offer new energy and excitement to the Brickbottom District. Both BAA and JSS enrich each other as they anticipate the future of The Brickbottom Art District.
The Districts existing art community takes great interest in the future vision. Since it is the areas heart and soul, it will act as a building block for a new reorientation of the Districts economy working towards more art, design, new media, and cultural centers, and a return to the vitality of the past. For more information on the Edge as Center: Envisioning the Post-Industrial Landscape