On the Cusp of Change…

31 Dec


In 2016 the Powder Magazine will, at long last, get new windows, doors, masonry repointing and security lighting AND DCR will select an “historic curator” (a tenant) for the property. AND Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge will complete the design for the park AND DCR might even implement some of the proposed improvements. All of this is happening because of YOUR/OUR advocacy.

After five years of dedicated work with DCR, the City of Cambridge, and partners the Charles River Conservancy and the Riverside Boat Club, we are on the cusp of change. Happy New Year and thank you for YOUR contributions to our little revolution at Magazine Beach Park–our 15-acre oasis along the river.

Cathie Zusy for the Magazine Beach Committee of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, Inc.

For more information, click here: 2015 in Review.

Our View Is About to Change

9 Dec

As early as mid-2018, Mass. DOT will begin realigning the Mass Pike, just across the river, and taking out the toll booths. The State will present its plans to Cambridge next Tuesday, December 15, 6-8pm at the Morse School (40 Granite St.). It is VERY IMPORTANT that residents and business owners attend to learn about the project and to:

  1. advocate for measures to quiet Soldiers Field Road and I-90 and;
  2. to extend the river parklands on the Boston side to serve as a visual and sound buffer for Cambridge. Magazine Beach and the Cambridge river parklands don’t need to be so noisy. 
Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 4.09.25 PM

I-90 and Soldiers Field Road, just across from the park, will be realigned in the next years. See you at the IMPT meeting about this next Tuesday!

Over 100 people attended DOT’s presentation last night in Allston; mostly, they were concerned about connectivity issues since the realigned Pike is in their backyard. Please attend next Tuesday’s program to share your concerns. This project is a great opportunity to make Cambridge quieter.

To learn more, go to: https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/HighlightedProjects/AllstonI90InterchangeImprovementProject.aspx. Comments are due by Dec. 22 at dot.feedback.highway@state.ma.us.

If you have questions about the meeting, contact Bill Deignan, Transportation Program Manager at Cambridge Community Development Dept., at wdeignan@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4632. Want to be added to the project mailing list? Contact Nathaniel Cabral-Curtis  at ncabral-curtis@hshassoc.com.


Feedback re Phase II Plan Due December 9

7 Dec
Remember to submit your comments about the design for Phase II to DCR by this Wed., Dec. 9. See Nov. 18th post for image, the link to Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge’s presentation about the design, and the feedback portal. Also, Expressions of Interest (RFEI)  in the Powder Magazine are also due Dec. 9. Eager to hear from you!  See the Globe article re this here.
Progress! A sign telling about the history of the Magazine and DCR’s seeking a tenant for it has been posted on its door. 

Look Closely

5 Dec

Among the milk weed and thistles is a tiny bird’s nest I have long been curious about. It is December so the weeds and tall grasses have died back enough that I can now walk among them, and see it up close.  About three inches across, it is shaped like the bulb of a small wine glass and sits in the fork of a small shrub. I pull the branch toward me and see that it is made from small, very fine grasses woven tightly and evenly. Inside, very small leaves form a cradle.  The goldfinch that likely made this is truly a master craftsperson…oops…bird.

I have been walking Magazine Beach nearly every day for years and have experiences of its marvels all the time. As the planning for the second phase of the beach proceeds, we need to remember that MB is the wetland home to many birds and other critters whose presence enriches those who make the time to look. I expressed my concern to Cathie Zusy that some of the larger birds that have been living at MB were not in residence this summer. At her suggestion, I am now compiling an inventory of birds and animals sighted at MB.  If you see interesting wildlife down there, please email me at manduhai1@verizon.net OR note the name of the creature, and the date and time of your sighting on the new whiteboard on the Magazine door.


Wed.: IMPT Public Meeting about Magazine Beach Design

17 Nov

See you at the Morse School (40 Granite St.) tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6:30-8pm, for the 2nd Public Meeting about the design for the western part of the park—from the playing fields to the Riverside Boat Club.

We need you there to show our support for park improvements and to share your good ideas. Below is the draft plan.CENTRAL PATH LAYOUT

If you missed the meeting, it is now viewable at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/public-meetings. Share  your comments before December 9 at:   http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/submit-public-comments/ or write to the DCR Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.

Also, do you have a business or community idea for the Powder Magazine—the focal point for the park? DCR is seeking Expressions of Interest (RFEI) in the structure. Three-page (max) proposals are due by December 9 @ 3pm. Questions? E-mail: HCP.Requests@statema.us.



Navigational Games & Robots

15 Nov


Barb Brandt brought orienteering to Magazine Beach this morning, including members of MIT’s CSAIL (Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Lab) and their robot participant ATRV-JR. Look for ATRV-JR at the park this fall as it “trains” to do the orienteering course on its own.

Navigation Games returns to Magazine Beach Sunday, December 20th. To learn more about this FREE program, go to www.navigationgames.org. For other local orienteering events, see: www.neoc.org and www.csu.attackpoint.com.

2nd Public Meeting about MB Design: Wed., Nov. 18

13 Nov


Wednesday, November 18, DCR will present their second Public Meeting about plans for the upstream part of Magazine Beach Park, from 6:30-8pm, at the Morse School (40 Granite St.). We’ll post the proposed plans here by November 17th. Please attend to show support for this project and because we need your great ideas. Landscape architects, Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge, are working hard to complete plans for the park by the end of December. Our hope is that with shovel-ready plans in hand, DCR will be able to implement at least some park improvements in 2016.

Simultaneously, DCR is seeking a long-term tenant for the 1818 Powder Magazine–the focal point for the park. Finding the right tenant will be critical to reactivating Magazine Beach. Look at prior posts for information about DCR’s Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), due December 9th!

Thanks to Everyone Who Raked, Painted & Picked Up Trash Saturday!

8 Nov


We had about 40 volunteers at the park at our Cleanup on Saturday. MIT’s Kappa Sigma brought their pledge class and did they rake leaves–over 120 bags of them! That is, with the help of alumni from UMich and UMass, Boston, members of the Riverside Boat Club rowers, and Cambridgeport residents.  Volunteers painted benches and picked up lots of trash as well. Found: a child’s bike. If it’s yours, claim it at the park quick!

Thank you also to all who turned out for the Open House of the Powder Magazine. It was chilly, but interested parties kept coming. If you are interested in leasing the Magazine, contact HCP.Requests@state.ma.us.

Special thanks to the Charles River Conservancy’s Sasha Vallieres, to DCR’s Kevin Allen and Peter Seweryn and to Rep. Jay Livingstone, for all of their contributions!

DCR's Kevin Allen and Peter Seweryn with Rep. Jay Livingstone at the Open House.

DCR’s Kevin Allen and Peter Seweryn with Rep. Jay Livingstone at the Open House.

Take a Walk at the Park. It’s Gorgeous.

6 Nov


A 2008 study by Dr. Richard Mitchell of the University of Glasgow, Scotland suggests that green open spaces have a positive effect on our health. See this 2013 study: Rook PNAS 2013-2 and this 2015 study: srep11610 as well! Yet another reason to take a walk along the river…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Remember: Magazine Beach Cleanup, tomorrow, Saturday, November 7, 9am-12noon. Meet at the parking crescent at the foot of Magazine Street. The Charles River Conservancy will provide work gloves and tools. The CNA will provide hot brownies!

Also, Powder Magazine Open House, tomorrow, Saturday, November 7, 12noon-2pm. Go inside the Magazine and learn about DCR’s quest to find the right tenant. The longterm lessee will convert the structure to its next use, manage the space, and in so doing, reactivate the park. For more information about DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, see our October 26th post. Note: DCR will be completing the stabilization of the exterior of the structure next spring. The lessee will be responsible for updates to the interior.

This is a BIG Week for Magazine Beach…

3 Nov


On Thursday night (Nov. 5)Kevin Allen of DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program will talk about DCR’s seeking a tenant for the Magazine at the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Assn. meeting at LBJ apartments (150 Erie St.) at 7pm.  DCR’s Request for Expressions of Interest is out; proposals are due December 9th by 3pm. The tenant will reactivate the park so this is a BIG deal.

DCR will host an Open House of the Magazine this Saturday, Nov. 7th from 12noon-2pm. If you’re interested in attending, please contact HCP.Requests@state.ma.us.

Also this Saturday, Nov. 7, from 9am-12noon, we’ve got a Magazine Beach Cleanup with the Charles River Conservancy and Riverside Boat Club. Register with Sasha Vallieres at svallieres@thecharles.org, or just come on down. The CRC will provide work gloves and tools. We’ll bring hot brownies.

Also, mark your calendars! Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6:30-8pm @ the Morse School (40 Granite St.), 2nd Public Meeting about the design for the western part of the park. Please attend to show support and to share your ideas. Our goal is to have a final plan by the end of the year with the goal of implementing at least parts of it in 2016!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 315 other followers