WEEK IN REVIEW: Revitalizing Union Square, Somerville's Giant Spider Robot
Also, the West Nile Virus threat level was raised, urban farming was approved and a major arts venue looks to be open longer.
Union Square Revitalization Plan
The city presented a plan this week that would lead to significant redevelopment of Union Square. As part of the plan, the city would convert 117 acres of Union Square to a revitalization district, and it would seek to create office, research and development, residential, retail, restaurant, and open space in seven development blocks.
Somerville's giant robot spider
Folks at Somerville's Artisan's Asylum have designed a two-ton, ten-foot tall, six-legged, ridable giant robot that resembles a spider. Their design has captured interest around the globe, and the design group has already raised over $70,000 online. They'll use the funding to build the robotic spider, and they continue to raise money, hoping to give the robot a "performance upgrade." The designers think the robot, named STOMPY, could be used in natural disaster areas to reach countryside not accessible to traditional vehicles.
West Nile Virus threat raised
The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services this week raised the threat level in Somerville for West Nile Virus to "moderate." The department made the decision after a Middlesex County man contracted the virus in late July. It also set the threat level at moderate in the neighboring communities of Arlington, Cambridge, Belmont, Watertown, Medford, Malden and Melrose.
Armory extended hours
The Center for Arts at the Armory, saying it needs to put itself on more stable financial footing, is requesting the Zoning Board of Appeals allow it to have extended hours and permit other changes to the way it operates. The Armory is home to the Winter Farmers Market in addition to regular community and arts events.
The Somerville Board of Aldermen Thursday approved an ordinance that allows urban farming in Somerville. People can now raise chickens, keep bees and grow produce for sale.