Issues & Initiatives
Current Issues & Initiatives
Warners Pond Land Acquisition
Described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, the Town is attempting to acquire 6+ acres on the north bank of Warner’s Pond. 2018 CPA funds have been recommended by the Community Preservation Committee, but warrant approvals for that and additional funding will be needed at 2018 Town Meeting.
Thanks to your support of Article 25 at the 2018 Town Meeting this 7 acre property at 369 Commonwealth Ave. was purchased from the Gerow family by the town in July! This property lies on the north side of the pond next to the new Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. The site is planned for development into a public recreation area. You can see a map and read more about the plans in the town’s 2019 CPA application.
Brookside Square Residential/Retail Development
The last parcel of the Brookside project (13B Commonwealth Ave.) is approved for 6000+ sq. ft. of retail and is currently in the design phase. Design concepts were presented at the January (minutes) and February 2018 WCAC meetings showing a single story building resembling the architecture of the existing Brookside buildings. Our understanding is that the developer intends to make revisions based on town and public feedback and present in the future.
Junction Village Assisted Living Development
An 83-unit assisted living just behind the village along the Assabet with 40 units designated low-income. Concord approved the second of three CPA years of funding at the 2018 town meeting. The developer is still in the pipeline for state funding needed to make the project happen (expected to be approved, but no concrete timeline yet). Current work on the committee surrounds planning for the open space part of the project to create new public walking trails along the river. (More details see below).
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
This incredible addition to the Village will come directly through town at the intersection of Main and Commonwealth in front of the 99 Restaurant. It substantially constructed and scheduled for opening in early 2019. See more details about the project at the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Committee’s page.
Pedestrian Bridge to Baker Ave
The goal of this project is to create a pedestrian throughway connecting businesses on Baker Ave Extension to the Village center. An initial study was performed in 2017 (document | video) and 2018 Town Meeting approved an additional $35,000 for design and permitting as part of the CPA warrant. WCAC is in favor of making this connection to both promote foot traffic for Village businesses and allow residents of the Village access to the businesses on Baker Ave. WCAC continues to work with the town Planning Department to explore options.
Summer Events in the Village
The Recreation Department has sought input from WCAC on ideas for bringing more community events to the Village. Since 2016, they have been trying summer outdoor movie nights at Rideout Park and in 2018 ran a series of 3 outdoor concerts at Harvey Wheeler.
Past Issues and Initiatives
Rideout Park Improvements
This project was proposed by the Recreation Department and was primarily aimed at improving the safety and capacity of Rideout parking by constructing a new lot on acquired land adjacent to the park. Improvements were also made to the road frontage and ball fields and a covered pavilion was added in the spring of 2018, the latter being an addition approved by voters in the CPA funding at 2017 Town Meeting.
West Concord Junction Cultural District
WCAC did substantial work with the Planning Department to help West Concord achieve a “Cultural District” designation from the State of Massachusetts. In addition to promotion through their website and materials, this also qualifies the village for grants such as the one that produced the new mural on the side of Twin Seafood. We are now working with the newly formed West Concord Junction Cultural District Committee to develop ideas to preserve and enhance the cultural character of the Village.
Concord Teacakes/Twin Seafood Plaza
This new seating area between the 2 businesses is now complete, including the fantastic new mural make possible by our 2017 MA Cultural District designation. (More details see below.)
Assabet River Trails
This initiative involved trying to form a walking trail in several sections along the Assabet River from Main St. west of the Village, behind Thoreau School, to Pine St. and the Rail Trail and finally over to Dino’s. See a version of proposed trail map.
Issue & Initiative Details
Concord Teacakes/Twin Seafood Plaza
Otherwise known as the “Twin-Cakes” plaza, this new outdoor seating area is an extension to the project to create safer “bump-out” crosswalks in the village, which improve line-of-sight for both pedestrians and drivers. By closing off the lane between the two restaurants to traffic, a new seating space was created. The space was further improved by our first Cultural District grant to paint a large mural on the side of Twin Seafood. After a friendly competition for the commission, the mural was painted by a pair of local artists (with a little help from the community!).
The project was first detailed in the Implementation Plan of the 2010 West Concord Master Plan. The project was completed on November 17, 2017 with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony on the plaza.
Junction Village Assisted Living/Affordable Housing
This project is on 6.7 acres located at 6X Winthrop St., which is on the right off Commonwealth as you are leaving the village headed towards the rotary. The land was owned by the CHDC and was designated for affordable housing. The developer proposed an 83-unit assisted living facility, with 100% of the units meeting the chapter 40B designation as affordable. It is being developed by the Grantham Group, which owns several similar properties in the state.
In order to make the $17M project financially viable, Grantham is seeking $5M in state subsidies and $2M from the Town of Concord. After much thoughtful discussion and debate leading up to and at 2017 Town Meeting, citizens of Concord approved $1M in cash and the first $350K of 3 years of CPA commitments totaling an additional $1M to support the project. The project was recommended for approval by WCAC at their Jan 4, 2017 meeting (minutes), recommended for approval by the Planning Board at their April 11, 2017 meeting (minutes), and a Comprehensive Permit was approved by the ZBA at the May 11, 2017 meeting. (minutes)
With town approvals in hand, the developer was able to make applications to the State and is currently awaiting inclusion in their funding pipeline. It is anticipated that the project will receive funding and go forward, but there is no current outlook for groundbreaking.
One of the items WCAC was very interested in was the plan for publicly accessible open space on the property, which has a large amount of natural landscape and river frontage and will be directly connected to the Village center and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. While both Grantham and the CHDC are in favor of this use, the challenge is both constructing initial trails or spaces and planning for their maintenance. Conservation restrictions and access were built into permit approvals, and WCAC is now actively working with the town Planning Department to develop an approach and secure budget.