Wednesday, September 30, 2015

MAPC - A cruel joke to those living in Southeast Framingham

On September 28, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council met with the community of the Southeast Framingham neighborhood at Woodrow Wilson School. The purpose of the event was to create an action plan to improve the area by developing a vision and development framework with the community. It's end goal is to attract investment, foster job creation and improve housing, open spaces and streetscapes.

The meeting divided the people in attendance into several smaller groups for discussion. Each group was to talk about Southeast Framingham's strengths and weaknesses, and to discuss developing a collective vision of areas for preservation, enhancement and growth. For example, people were asked what they wanted. One person mentioned she would like to see a bakery, another wished for a playground. There was talk of shops and apartments along Waverly Street heading from Bishop Street to the Natick line. One representative from MAPC talked about cleaning up Beaver Dam Brook.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A bit of Framingham History solved

In a previous posting last week, I asked: How are the pictures of a horse and wagon related to the TD Bank at the Framingham Center Common?

Answer: The center portion of the building (above) with the four columns was once the C. Masterman and Son Framingham Market. The building however was originally located in another part of Framingham Center on Main Street on the other side of route nine. It was moved in 1968 and became the present TD Bank on Auburn Street.

Encroachment continues to other sites

The previous article about blight included encroachment by automobile related business along Howard Street. These businesses use the CSX property directly behind their buildings as if it were their own to use and destroy. They also use the sidewalk as theirs to store vehicles or do repairs. It happens along Waverly Street and many other locations also. It happens along the 350 Irving Street property.

Landscape Depot has encroached on an abandoned train line along the left side of the Eversource property. The area marked in purple indicates the portion they have illegally developed. The photographs below hat they have done.

Landscape Depot has also encroached on Town property marked in orange. It is the sidewalk.

Images above show encroachment into an abandoned train line (see map above shown in purple). You will see excavation of train property in June 2009 and what the same area looks like completed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Blight in Downtown Framingham

Howard Street is considered part of Downtown Framingham. It is the east-west axis from Farm Pond to Bishop Street in the Central Business District. The street is an area where filth and contamination appear to be ignored by the Town. There is no enforcement. Owners are disrespectful of the property and others who live in the area. These businesses are along the train tracks and encroach on CSX property to store car hulks, parts and waste products. Like the auto businesses along the east end of Waverly Street, they also use the Town's sidewalks and streets as an extension of their facilities. They don't care. Lack of effective enforcement and fines sends the message that they can do whatever they want.

The town departments speak about "gateways" into Downtown. There are other gateways such as the dreadful businesses on the east end of Waverly Street, those along Frankin Street and route 126. The welcome mat is out, "Come to Framingham and we'll let you pollute and do whatever you please."

While blight and contamination continue and enforcement and strong fines are non-existant, there will never be any success to revitalize the Downtown.

Auto related business on Howard Street have encroached on CSX property and use the area as a junkyard.

This is an example of auto businesses on Howard Street using Town sidewalks and streets as an extension of their business. How compliant are these businesses properly storing and disposing petroleum products and chemicals? Recent Town by-laws require all businesses that have floor drains be permanently sealed.

Owner of businesses at 243 Howard Street will be appearing at the October Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting to request approval for additional types of businesses including auto paint shop. Encroachment in rear on CSX property storing trash and unregistered vehicles, permanent parking along sidewalk are some of the numerous blight and code violations presently on sight. Inspection of property should be made by the Town. Town Bylaws require that floor drains be permanently sealed.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

What is the relation of these two pictures?

Here are two pictures. Can you tell me the connection between the photo of the horse and wagon and the TD Bank building at the Framingham Center Common?
(For answer, please go to: "A bit of Framingham History solved") 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mystery Building

I am sure many of you have driven past this building. Where is it? Do you know the original name of the building?

Answer:  The above photo is the Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank which stands at the corner of Franklin and Park Streets in Downtown Framingham. The building, likely built c.1938, is a remarkably handsome building unlike the typical New England architecture of the time. Perhaps the Art Deco style was chosen to reflect a progressive, confident nature of the bank following the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Opportunity to improve Southside

The corner of Mellen and Waverly Streets is considered the beginning of the downtown area. The Silton land and parcels owned by the Town might better be used to create a beautiful development of retail shops on the first level and small apartments or condominiums on the upper three floors. It is also adjacent to the entrance of Cedar Woods along Waverly Street.

No more automobile related business here. I call it our "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to turn things around for Southside and spark interest in this part of Town. After all, it's part of the Downtown and a quick walk to the train station.

For information about Cedar Woods...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Contamination abounds - but talk is scarce

Town, State and Environmental agencies must take blinders off and take action to address extensive contamination in an Environmental Justice Neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Two brooks

Choices for you. Choices for your family. Choices for your neighborhood.
Take your pick...

Photo on right taken of Beaver Dam Brook showing oil film, sludge, debris blocked
at the 2nd Street crossing (off Waverly Street)

Letter sent to Zoning Board of Appeals for tonight's ZBA meeting:

Members of the Zoning Board of Appeal,

Congratulations from the auto junk yards, auto repair, radiator repair, auto storage, auto paint shops, used car dealers for work well done. You have allowed us to make this part of Framingham a welcome door for us to do as we please. With many thanks from landscape businesses, mulch, stockpile and junk yards. You have allowed no limit to the number of businesses such as ours.

Yeah, so what if there's contamination complaints from the Environmental Justice community. As long as it is business as usual for us.

With your help, the sky's the limit. For the rest of the community, our legacy is below their feet.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mystery picture

What is this? Where is this? Respond to my post titled
"Mystery picture" on FramGov
 (Photo: George Lewis)

Mystery solved! Thank you to everyone who sent a response. Some people knew the subject looked like steps. Not the downtown library and not the Bowditch grandstands. One person said in keen detail: "Front steps of the memorial building , taken in the morning because of the shadow of the rails on the steps (which are the newer tread shape - indicating a recent picture) appears to be cast from the east and is long enough to be about at a 45 degree angle - don't know what time of year so I can't nail down the exact time of day but I'd venture earlier so about 7 or 8 am. Taken on the center rail left side because the right side would have had a shadow from the old concrete light bases.... the left rail would have shown the actual base and if it were taken of the top of the stair the architrave would have cast a shadow so I think you took it while standing on the plaza...."

Everything said was accurate. I only faulted the person for one mistake. The photograph was not taken about 7:00 or 8:00 am. It was taken at 9:00 am.
Thanks everyone.

Memorial Building stairs taken later in the day. Note change in the direction of the shadow.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Environmental Injustice: unequal protection depending where you live

Many Environmental Justice populations are located in densely populated urban neighborhoods, in and around the state’s oldest industrial sites, while some are located in suburban and rural communities. These high-minority/low-income neighborhoods sometimes encompass only a small portion of the land area of the Commonwealth but they host, or are in close proximity to, many of the state’s contaminated and abandoned sites, regulated facilities, and sources of pollution.

Everybody has a right to clean water and clean air, and nobody has a right to degrade and destroy the environment. We're not talking here about little critters which few people see. We're talking about healthy communities where we can send our kids out to play, where we can live and bring up our families knowing that everybody's doing their part in using and disposing of toxic chemicals properly.