19 People Who Will Help Shape Union Square's Future

The Union Square Community Advisory Committee's first task will be to help select a master developer for Union Square.

Credit: Amy
Credit: Amy
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone Tuesday named 19 people to a committee that will grapple with a wide range of issues concerning real estate development and revitalization efforts in Union Square.

The Union Square Community Advisory Committee will have several responsibilities: It will help select a master developer for the redevelopment of the square, it will flesh out goals called for the Union Square Revitalization Plan, it will help plan for the Green Line Extension, it will scrutinize roadway and infrastructure improvements in the square, and it will deal with numerous land use, housing, transportation, economic development, open space and neighborhood issues in the area.

The mayor's office announced the names of the committee members Tuesday. Here they are, including short biographical information provide by the city:

  • Wig Zamore, chair: An MIT-trained urban development expert, Zamore is a founding and active member of both the Mystic View Task Force and Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership.
  • Joe Beckmann: Co-founder of Progressive Democrats of Somerville and OutSomerville. Beckmann is a former Somerville Public Schools consultant.
  • Susan Callahan: Middlesex County second assistant register of deeds. Callahan is a former Somerville City Solicitor.
  • Robyn Champion: Long-time Prospect Hill resident. Champion is a former professional transportation consultant and deputy director of Executive and Continuing Professional Education at Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Mike Dacey: Founder of Repeat Press. Dacey is a representative of Fringe Union.
  • Erik Fellinger: Union Square Main Streets' president of the board of directors. Fellinger is a transportation planner.
  • Mimi Graney: Union Square Main Streets’ executive director.
  • Gregory Jenkins: The Somerville Arts Council’s executive director.
  • Angelina Jockovich: Co-owner of Casa B in Union Square. Jockovich is an architect by trade specializing in construction management, architectural design and sustainable design and is a native of Colombia.
  • Ken Kelly: Co-owner of The Independent and Precinct in Union Square. Kelly serves on the Union Square Main Streets board of directors, is a member of the Somerville Chamber of Commerce and is an advocate on Union Square issues.
  • Shaina Korman-Houston: The Somerville Community Corporation’s project manager.
  • Karen Mancini: Former assistant purchasing director for the city of Somerville.
  • Pat McCormick: Senior consultant for Public Consulting Group, former president of the Somerville Homeless Coalition board, and former CIO for the City of Somerville (2000-2004).
  • Erik Neu: Resident, parent, and Union Square entrepreneur. Neu is a graduate of Somerville Academy for Innovative Leadership (SAIL) and is an independent management consultant.
  • Philip Parsons: Principal at Parsons Consulting Group, formerly of Sasaki Associates, a leading international planning and design firm. Parsons specialties include comprehensive planning, urban design and planning, landscape architecture and LEED AP.
  • Molly Rubenstein: Artisan’s Asylum’s executive director.
  • Kat Rutkin: Somerville Local First’s executive director.
  • Rebecca Schrumm: Somerville Chamber of Commerce board of directors vice chairman and Green Committee chairman. Schrumm is a financial advisor.
  • Gordon Wong: A resident, Wong is a graduate of the Somerville Academy for Innovative Leadership (SAIL), a data management specialist and consulting director at Cervello, a technology consulting company.

Selecting a Master Developer for Union Square

One of the committee's first jobs will be to help select a master developer for several redevelopment blocks in Union Square, according to the city's announcement.

The city plans to select one master developer for the whole project, and interested development firms have until Jan. 31 to submit responses to a request for qualifications.

The advisory committee will help evaluate those responses, and the city hopes to select a master developer by April 1, according to an email from Denise Taylor, the city's communications director.

See: City to Begin Selecting Union Square Developer, Says Radio Station >> 

Once the master developer is selected, it will work with the city of Somerville, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority and the Union Square Community Advisory Committee to fulfill the community's goals for the area, as laid out in the long-term "SomerVision" plan, according to the announcement.

The master developer will work closely with the advisory committee. The announcement says the committee "will act as a sounding board for the master developer ... [helping] shape proposals that will then be brought forward for full public review."

The announcement talks about "preserving Union Square's history and unique character" and "making sure all the pieces come together in a way that creates community-driven, sustainable and strategic economic sense."

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