Whether you want to turn your house into a B&B or do something small—like, oh, completely reshape Assembly…More Square—the planning and zoning division will make sure your plans meet zoning requirements and are in the best interest of the City. They regulate the size, density and nature of developments with the goal of improving services, quality of life, the tax base and job creation. Their web page links to extensive information on planning and zoning initiatives and processes.
Name any development, economic initiative or city improvement project, and the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning…More and Community Development (OSPCD) is sure to be involved in it. The Green Line Extension, Assembly Square and Shape Up Somerville are just a few of the initiatives and programs they play a central role in. In short, the over five dozen full- and part-time City employees who work in OSPCD's seven divisions are continually working to improve our City. The Department's divisions include:
Director's Office/Finance and Administration: They run the show, develop long-range plans for the city, plan the budget and oversee major projects.
Head down Highland Ave. and you can't miss City Hall, which sits atop Central Hill next to Somerville High School.…More Built in 1851 as the city's first high school, the building has housed city government since 1871. Today, the majority of City offices are still at City Hall. But in a city of over 74,000, one building can't hold them all. So another dozen City offices occupy City Hall Annex on Evergreen St., a handful are at the Department of Public Works building on Franey Road, and a few are at other locations in the city.
Offices located at City Hall include:
Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD)
Somerville OSPCD Parks & Open Space Division 93 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA02143 Our 4.1 square mile city may be the most densely populated city in New England, but we've still managed to squeeze in…More over 60 parks, sports fields, community gardens and playgrounds—and over 50 of them are managed by this division. They work with the Departments of Recreation, Public Works, Sustainability and Environment and Capital Projects to develop new green spaces and renovate and maintain existing ones. They also manage tree planting along our streets. Their Conservation Commission works to protect the city's green spaces and shorelines and also oversees the city's community gardens. To stay up to date on their many plans and initiatives, visit their web page.
Somerville Veterans' Services 50 Evergreen Ave, Somerville, MA02145 This office, located at City Hall Annex, helps veterans access the federally funded benefits…More offered to former members of the armed forces and their families. Assistance is provided with applications for support ranging from housing and education assistance to medical and disability benefits and tax relief. The office also helps plan the City's annual Memorial Day Parade, as well as Veterans Day and Patriots' Day events.
Durell Park 245 Beacon St, Somerville, MA02143 Durell Park is actually a community garden, not a recreational area. Although no playgrounds or sports facilities can be…More found here, this 'pocket park' has several beautiful plots owned by locals. You can contact the city if you are interested in attaining one, but don't plan on walking through the current plots before you buy because the gate is locked.
Quincy Street Park 17 Quincy St, Somerville, MA02143 Set on Quincy Street on the former lot of a house, this pint-sized park offers a bit of green for nearby residents.…More It lacks formal landscaping and structures. But shade trees do edge the sides of the lot, which has one picnic table, some patio furniture and a flower bed maintained by neighbors. A chain-link fence runs along the front. In 2010, the City began plans to redesign and renovate the park.
If you build a pathway in Somerville, they will come. This heavily used path runs from Grove St. (behind the…More Rite-Aid) to Cedar Ave. Though it's just a thin ribbon of green space with an asphalt path, it's likely among the City's most used parks. Commuters on foot and bicycle fill the half-mile-long path at rush hour. Others simply stroll its length to take in the greenery. Trees line most of the route and occasional benches offer seating. Old-fashioned streetlamps light the way at night and the City keeps it plowed in winter. And if all goes well, it may be getting longer.
The City and the citizen group Friends of the Community Path are working to extend the path eastward. The first new link will be to Central Ave. Ultimately, the goal is for it to reach Lechmere, where it would link with the Charles River Bike Path and provide a bike route to downtown Boston. On the west side, plans aim to better link the path to the Alewife Linear Park, which, in turn, leads to the Minuteman Bikeway to Bedford.
Cycling fans are also working to link the path to the planned 104-mile Mass Central Rail Trail that will run from just west of Northampton to Boston (by way of Somerville, of course).