Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Select Board, February 21, 2024

Battle reenactment plans
Deputy Town Manager Christine Bongiorno and Economic Development Coordinator Katie Luczai requested conditional approval to close Mass Avenue from Grove Street to Prentiss Street to Medford Street on Sunday, April 14 for a battle reenactment event. The closure would be from 12:00 noon until 5:00 PM, in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution next year. Arlington, alongside Lexington, Concord, and Lincoln, will be using this year as a dress rehearsal for next year’s events, working closely with battle reenactment groups. The board granted conditional approval based on the logistics being worked out with emergency planning partners.

Approval of the Sale of $200,000 Sewer Bond and $2.6 million Water Bond
Deputy Town Manager/Finance Director Alex McGee appeared before the board to seek approval for the sale of bonds that were previously authorized at past town meetings. The sewer and water projects—aimed at addressing inflow and infiltration and replacing a water main along Pleasant Street, respectively—are to be funded through 0% interest loans from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The board gave its approval.

Celebrating Arlington Stories Banner Series
Cecily Miller, representative of the Arlington Commission for the Arts and Culture, presented to the board a change in this year’s banner project. With Arlington Public Schools taking a break from creating banners, three artists have been invited to depict residents of Arlington, who represent diverse identities, as part of an inclusive initiative. Together with potential storefront displays in Arlington Center, the project aims to portray community stories through visual art. The board approved the banner series from April 1, 2024, to May 31, 2024.

Kenneth Lubar was appointed to the Jason and Gray Historic District of the Historic District Commission with the condition that he presents before the board at a future date. Marina Popova and Olivier Aries were appointed to the Tree Committee, emphasizing their passion for nature, experience as volunteers, and commitment to addressing climate change through increased tree canopy in Arlington.

Common Victualer License for Kilo’s Taqueria
Jamie Herrera presented an application for a common victualer license for Kilo’s Taqueria at 162 Mass Avenue. They discussed their expertise in the food industry, plans to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offered a special discount for first responders. The board approved the application.

Placement of Historic Marker for General Lafayette’s Visit
Economic Development Coordinator Katie Luczai proposed the placement of a historic marker commemorating General Lafayette’s visit to Arlington (formerly West Cambridge) in 1824. The marker funded by the Lafayette Trail organization would be placed in a prominent location along Mass Avenue, preferably near the First Parish Arlington, which was the historical location related to Lafayette’s visit. The board gave a conditional approval for the placement of the marker, subject to finalized location to be decided by town officials.

CDBG Application Endorsement
Mary Muszynski presented to the board the CDBG subcommittee’s recommendations for Program Year 50 (FY 2025) allocation of funds which exceeds the expected grant award of $1,001,000, resulting in difficult budgeting decisions. Organizations not receiving funds this year are encouraged to reapply next year. The board approved the recommendation and moved the CDBG report to town meeting for endorsement.

Revolving Funds
Deputy Town Manager/Finance Director Alex McGee presented the list of revolving funds for reauthorization, including the establishment of two new funds for Cutter Gallery Rentals and Community Center Rentals, and an increase in the cap for the Private Ways Repair fund from $300,000 to $1 million. The board approved the list with some concerns over inactive funds and potential future dissolution of unused funds. The Parking Advisory Committee also supported applicable upgrades and improvements funded by the parking benefit district revolving fund.

Parking Benefit District Expenditures
Alex McGee and the town manager discussed expenditures for the Parking Benefit District, including targeted investments in Russell Common lot, electric upgrades for additional receptacles on light poles, and funds for the 250th celebration decorations. The revenues and expenditures are projected to balance for FY 2024, with the FY 2025 budget built off the FY 2024 actual figures. The board approved the budget for the Parking Benefit District.

Resolution for MBTA Service
Paul Schlichtman presented a resolution calling for improved MBTA service in Arlington, noting further deterioration since last year’s similar resolution. This year has seen Arlington Public Schools launching parallel yellow school bus service due to unreliability in MBTA service, and Arlington’s passage of transit-oriented housing zoning changes consistent with the MBTA Communities Act. Schlichtman urged inviting state transportation leadership to Arlington to discuss transit issues and reiterated the need for advocacy. The board approved a favorable action on the resolution without specific language, deferring that to future votes and comments.



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