The View From Prospect Hill – February 6

On February 6, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

prospect hill

Wherever you go, there you are. So the old Zen-like expression says. And, as simplistic as the idea may be, there may be something more to think about in consideration of this concept.

Take, for example, the recently renewed interest by many Ward 5 residents in having a sign placed in Magoun Square. Something for uninformed passers-through to identify the area they are visiting, as well as something for the locals to take pride in, to observe the distinction that marks the spot.

It’s a nice idea, in fact. A refreshing facelift has been provided to the area recently, and it naturally comes to mind to consider making a bit of a fuss over it. Advocates of the new signage want to see the area recognized as its own unique territory, with its particular neighborhood flavor and ambiance.

It’s difficult to find anyone who is dead set against the proposal. The only serious questions seem to be how to fund the thing, how it should look and be constructed, and where to put it.

The city itself could bear the full financial burden, even though a fundraising effort by concerned individuals and community groups might not only help defray the costs, it could possibly raise all the funds that are needed to do it.

Obviously, a well thought out plan ought to be developed and implemented. Perhaps a committee should be formed that will go over proposed designs and locations and then make its recommendations known to city officials.

Let’s see to it that a majority opinion on this matter is thoroughly considered and taken seriously before any final decisions are made.

The sign will not only represent the residents and businesses of the Square, but the city at large as well.

And there you are.


7 Responses to “The View From Prospect Hill – February 6”

  1. A. Moore says:

    One question. How were all the other signs in the city planned and paid for?

  2. Joe Lynch says:

    Mr. Moore – the wooden, “Somerville brick red” (yes, it is a color) background with gold paint lettering signs, have been used in the City to announce our commercial districts for close to 20 years. I think they are handsome signs, well constructed (they do not however stand up to the occasional 3000 lb vehicle or city snow plow) and relatively inexpensive. The city has paid for, installed and maintained these signs.

    As part of the recent Magoun Square re-do($approx. $2.8million in federal stimulus funds) the Magoun Square sign was incorporated into that project.

    Our request (the neighbors and merchants who were involved in the original planning some 10 years ago) to have the promised sign installed, now seems to be in question. Some in DPW are now trying to rewrite history, change the signage and are once again delaying the installation.

    My question here is: what happened to the money for the sign that was originally allocated in the federal stimulus award?

    Perhaps if we had used the money as originally programmed, the sign would have been installed by now and all would have been happy.

  3. A. Moore says:

    Sounds like we need to follow the money.

  4. j connelly says:

    Mr Lynch is correct, it often happens in public funded construction projects all over, not just Somerville alone, that items do not get completed even though money has been specifically appropriated for that item. Contractors have a bad habit on public projects to cut corners to increase profits. There should be city “Clerks of the Works” daily at these projects to keep the contractors honest.

    One time a contractor replaced sidewalks, while doing so the long granite marker posts that were in the ground for decades near the sidewalks at intersections, the contractor also removed them and no one realized it for years. Then when another project at the area came up the engineers could not find these needed posts to survey the area. Thus the contractor got the granite they needed for curbstones at some other project.

    The signage for Magoun Square does not only serve the need of the local neighborhood. It is also an entry point for many people entering the city from Rte 93 & Medford. Thus it serves more than one purpose.

  5. sharon says:

    Joe, good luck getting the answer to your question. Stimulus money was generally used to temporarily shore up over-spent budgets.
    I’m curious about the ‘refreshing facelift’ in Magoun Square. Where exactly is it?

  6. sharon says:

    We don’t need a clerks of the works at project sites, we already have inspectional services. Problem is, they just give away permits and don’t inspect to make sure the work was done correctly, or at all. There was a problem when building the WSCS which was noticed and corrected thanks to an observant neighbor.

  7. j connelly says:

    “WSCS” – ironic that they spent “emergency money”, [raided the Somerville employees pension fund] to take care of the asbestos issue at the Cutler School. A strong structural bldg that would last another 100 years. Then a few years later tore it down & built WSCS.

    This is an historic repetitive event in this city. Instead of building additions to existing bldgs if needed. The city officials just spend, spend, spend and waste taxpayer dollars.

    In Framingham and Haverhill, when student enrollment was dramatically down, they leased space out in the empty schools an had lease waivers should they need the space in the future. Thus saving $$$, having the school bldgs continually operational and bring $$$ into the city budget.

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