CFSV and the Union Square Revitalization Plan
The final Union Square Revitalization Plan (also known as “SomerVision”) was released in August. Among other big changes for Union Square, it details some very specific plans for our home at 35 Prospect Street, CrossFit Somerville. Click here to read or download the full plan.
The city intends to seize CrossFit Somerville by eminent domain, destroy the building, and give the property to a real estate developer so that company can build a new 5-story structure: retail like CVS on the ground floor, and 4 stories of condos or offices above it.
What about you? Well, the plan says they’ll help find us a new home somewhere… but the fact is that I searched in Somerville for 2 years to find the perfect spot for CrossFit Somerville. We are a unique operation that cannot simply fit into a strip mall vacancy. I know – I’ve done this three times already!
I think this neighborhood needs CrossFit, and all of the great things we have planned for the future of CrossFit Somerville, a lot more than it needs a CVS and more condos. I believe in the future of Union Square, and I think CrossFit Somerville can be a vibrant part of that future.
Please help me ensure that Yosh, Mandy, KP, Maralene, Nick, and I will be able to be here for many years to come, working with you to build a stronger Somerville. Right now, we need your help.
What can you do to help keep CrossFit Somerville in Union Square?
1) SHOW UP. The public meeting to discuss this is Wednesday, September 19, at 6pm. The public meeting will be held at City Hall (on Highland St) in the Alderman’s Chambers. All Somerville residents are invited.
Please be there. Your public support and presence is the most important thing you can do.
2) SPEAK UP. At the meeting, let the Aldermen know what is wrong with this plan and what needs to change. Tell them how important CFSV is to you, and how valuable it is in its current location. Your voice is the only thing that matters.
3) WRITE IN. Yes, a physical letter with a stamp and envelope. Doing this counts almost as much as showing up in person and being impassioned. Responses from people unable to attend have been requested in writing PRIOR to the meeting, addressed to:
Alderman Tony Lafuente, Chairman, Committee on Housing and Community Development
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143
(I had to ask the guy at the Post Office how to do it. I’ll provide stamps and envelopes and teach it during a warmup.)
What does the Board of Alderman need to hear? We need to ask them to change the plan to remove our property, 35 Prospect Street, from the Union Square Revitalization Plan, before approving it. We need to ask for the Plan to be Amended, not Passed. Why?
The Plan is Out of Date
1) The plot is listed under the prior ownership (Frank and Charles Souza), not my present ownership (as of 8/2011).
2) The plot is lumped into the “D-4 Prospect West” acquisition block as an “auto-related use”, even though it is no longer an auto-related use and is not contiguous with those properties.
3) The plot is targeted for demolition to make way for redevelopment – when redevelopment has already started!
The Plan Doesn’t Serve the Neighborhood Residents
1) CrossFit Somerville is more than a business – it is already serving as a community center and creating bonds in the neighborhood.
2) CrossFit Somerville is just the beginning. Killing this local small business as we get started leaves no room for continued re-landscaping, renovation, and redevelopment by our committed local ownership.
3) Even if this property won’t be seized for 5 years, the fact is that we cannot expand and thrive the way you and this neighborhood deserve if we’re under the threat of demolition.
The Plan Doesn’t Allow CrossFit Somerville to Survive
1) CrossFit Somerville is a unique, small, locally owned business serving neighborhood residents that cannot be easily relocated due to unique needs for vibration and sound isolation.
2) 35 Prospect Street is valued by the city at drastically under the current purchase and renovation price. Seizure by imminent domain would bankrupt me personally, and the business as well. No relocation would be possible.
Please show up and help keep CrossFit Somerville in Union Square. If we cannot get this Plan amended on Wednesday, the fate of CFSV will sit in the hands of a private board of four real-estate people called the Somerville Redevelopment Authority. We need your voice to stay in the neighborhood.
Yosh and I, particularly, have sunk several years of our lives – and practically my entire life savings – into building CrossFit Somerville. I believe in Union Square, and I believe we can do great things together. Please help us stay right here for years to come.
Linked here is the text of a letter I sent to the Aldermen on August 23rd. Your own words telling the Aldermen why CFSV needs to be free to stay at 35 Prospect and grow on its own will be most powerful; this letter is just an example of my perspective.