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Top 5 Somerville News Stories of 2013: Do You Agree?

Arsons, Green Line news and elections strive to be the most important story of 2013. What do you think?

Credit: Chris Orchard
Credit: Chris Orchard
The year 2013 comes to an end in two weeks, making it a good time to look back at the previous 12 months and some of the important things that happened in Somerville.

In that spirit, here's a list of the top five Somerville new stories from 2013, in descending order.

Of course, these lists are always a matter of opinion. What do you think? Are there stories that should have made the top-five list? Stories that should be taken off the list? Perhaps the order of importance should be different?

So, here we go: Somerville's top five stories from 2013.

5) Board of Aldermen Elections
As a result of this year's city election in November, nearly half the Somerville Board of Aldermen will be represented by fresh faces; most of the ward aldermen will be new. With big changes on the horizon for Somerville—the coming of the Green Line Extension, the build-out of Assembly Row, the redevelopment of Union Square, the revitalization of East Somerville, to name a few things—the composition of the new Board of Aldermen could have long-term implications for the city.

4) Partners HealthCare Will Take Over IKEA Site
IKEA began plans to build a store in Somerville's Assembly Square back in the 1990s, but in July the Swedish furniture giant officially decided not to pursue those plans. Nearly five months later, the city announced that Partners HealthCare, the state's largest private employer, would be relocating around 4,500 employees to the former IKEA site, building two large office buildings to do so. Assembly Row, which bought the parcels from IKEA, will also build 150,000 square feet of retail space at the site. As 2013 comes to and end, and with the first phase of Assembly Row slated to open in May, the transformation of that corner of Somerville is nigh.

3) A City Remembers Sean Collier
No community in the Boston area escaped the impact of the Boston Marathon bombings and the aftermath of that event. In Somerville, a young, civically engaged Teele Square resident who was weeks away from becoming a Somerville police officer was one of the casualties. Sean Collier, serving as an MIT police officer, was shot and killed by the bombing suspects on April 18, say authorities. Since then, the community has rallied to remember Collier. He was appointed, posthumously, to the Somerville Police Department, and countless individuals, organizations and local businesses have honored Collier with scholarships, fundraisers and memorial events.

2) Fires
Somerville witnessed a string of around 15 major fires over the summer that collectively displaced around 150 people. Although some of the fires were accidental, four were determined to be arson, and others remained under investigation. The city and state offered a combined $25,000 for information about the arsons.

1) Green Line Extension Funding
"It is a big deal." That's what Somerville's director of transportation and infrastructure said in September when the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors voted to approve $393 million in Green Line funding. Somerville Patch is pretty sure a few people in the city, many who worked for decades to bring the Green Line Extension to Somerville, popped open bottles of champagne that night. With the funding, the Green Line is expected to come to Union Square and Washington Street by 2017.

Thoughts? If you have ideas about the top Somerville stories of 2013, leave a comment below.

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