Austin Street Community Meeting Standing Room Only
Last Thursday, June 27, 2013, over a hundred of Newton citizens gathered at the Senior Center, 345 Walnut Street in Newtonville from 7:30-9 p.m. to hear the Mayor's Office presentation regarding the proposed development project for the Austin Street parking lot in Newtonville. The purpose of the meeting was to provide background information, including the site history, developer selection, design review, and opportunities for public input.
Every seat was filled with a secondary crowd standing in the lobby. In attendance were citizens, business owners, commercial property owners, and many city officials. The presentation began with a short background on the history of the Newtonville Village and the recent history leading up to the present point. Questions were taken at various times throughout the evening. Much of the commentary was expressed concern over potential lack of parking both during the construction and after. Local businesses were especially concerned that lack of parking would force them to "close their doors." Other concerns were about the scope of the project and the impact it will have on the city and schools. Most favored a smaller project. The smallest project had approximately 25 residential spaces. One gentleman suggested the City consider a land lease option rather than an outright sale. This route would give the City more control, options, and ability to gain from appreciation from property values.