|Happy Summer! I hope you have some rest & relaxation time planned for this summer. My family is headed to Cape Cod next week and between the end of school (yesterday was the last day) and our impending vacation, my kids are pretty chipper.
I am delighted to report that the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to acquire the former Aquinas College property on June 15th at a cost of $17,350,000. This item was delayed after Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan raised concerns at the previous full Board meeting over potential PCB contamination. To his credit this delay led to a very thorough discussion (see committee report here) and a realization that it would take longer to remediate than previously thought, which means the City-run preschool will not be moved into the building this fall. In addition at the full Board meeting on June 15th, Chief Financial Officer Maureen Lemieux reported that the Sellers agreed to lower the purchase price by $400,000 and limit the City’s liability amount to $100,000 with regard to any soil contamination or need for remediation. The Mayor also requested an additional $2 million to address any remediation that might be necessary. The bottom line is that the City is acquiring the property, doing all necessary remediation, and we will soon be able to use the building to alleviate some of our school overcrowding problems.
We are one step closer to making the switch to the gender-free title of “City Councilor.” On June 16th State Rep. Ruth Balser, Rep. Kay Khan and I testified in favor of H.3563, which would approve the Board of Aldermen’s vote to change the title. (The local vote was just the first step, next it has to be approved by the state legislature and then signed by the governor.)
New Wheels… Without Fumes!
While not city news per se, I am excited to report that I signed a 3 year lease for an all-electric Nissan Leaf last week. For anyone interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle, electric cars aren’t as good as bikes or walking but they are way cleaner than traditional gas-powered vehicles. They emit no tailpipe emissions, and as our electricity grid is increasingly powered by renewables, electric vehicles get that much cleaner. For a nice bonus, they are really fun to drive! Very peppy. Let me know if you’d like to take a test drive – we can discuss Newton issues while gliding silently around Ward 2.
My monthly office hours are tomorrow, 9-10am at the Newton Senior Center, 345 Walnut Street in Newtonville. Hope to see you there!