Friday, June 25, 2010

Camera Obscura

This Saturday, June 26, local artist Annie Smidt will turn Somerville's powederhouse into a camera obscura and use it to take pictures of members of the community. The photos will be displayed later in the year (with subjects' permission) in a gallery show, as well as posted on the project's website, where people will be able to download copies of their photos. Also, according to the project's Facebook page there will be a street festival of some sort occurring concurrently on Broadway.

I think using the powderhouse as a camera is one of the most inspired ideas I've ever heard, and apparently I'm not alone, because Smidt has received funding from the Somerville Arts Council to support the project again this year, after a successful first event last August.

Tomorrow's weather forecast is for thunder showers, but Smidt will announce rain delay information at

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One Benton Road's Last Stand

According to the Agenda published by the Somerville Planning Board, there will be a special meeting tonight at Somerville High School Auditorium (6:00, 81 Highland Ave.) to discuss whether MLM Realty will be permitted to divide the lot at One Benton Road into two, and build a second three-unit structure there.

The question of whether to finalize the permit now comes down to traffic safety. Because of the increased traffic to be generated by the additional residence, should it be built, combined with the limited lane space on Benton Road, and the foot traffic in the neighborhood during morning hours, the Planning Board has required MLM to present a traffic mitigation plan that would resolve these issues before allowing construction to go forward.

Supporters of the effort to prevent further construction on the One Benton Road lot will be attending tonight's meeting, and Alderman Tom Taylor has stated that the more people who show up, the more weight their opposition will carry. The petitions submitted by neighbors at the May 6 meeting have been instrumental in delaying construction this long, and forcing the developer to search for solutions to the negative impact that additional building on the lot will have.

Hopefully, MLM Realty's poorly conceived and executed assault on the city's precious remainder of open space can be halted before further damage is done to what was once a unique historical property.

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