Emerson Community Center
- As a second generation graduate of the Emerson Elementary School in Upper Falls, I was very disturbed by the School Committee decision to close it in 1978, and was part of the unsuccessful efforts to fight the closings of Emerson, the Hamilton School in Lower Falls, Hyde School in Newton Highlands, and other village schools.
- As a citizen and an Alderman, I have worked to preserve portions of these buildings as community centers in the heart of our village. A plaque in the Emerson Center describes it as the heart of village life. As the site of a polling place, nursery school, after school care, senior citizen programs, various recreational programs, meeting place of the Friends of Hemlock Gorge and the Newton Upper Falls Community Development Corporation, it continues to play this role.
- After I became Alderman in 1988, I established the Emerson Community Center Trust to have the proceeds from the sale of the building earn interest (they hadn’t for ten years before that.) I persuaded Mayor Mann to replenish the Trust. More recently it became clear that the funds were being depleted in annual condo. fees. At my request, Mayor David Cohen added the $3,500 per year in condominium fees to the city's operating budget.
As noted elsewhere, I tried to maintain the Upper Falls Branch Library in the Cathy Becker Room (named for an Upper Falls resident and neighborhood activist) but failed because the collection had already been reclaimed by the library system. An informal book exchange in the hall behind the gym didn't work either, but I think the city should attempt a book exchange program in all Community Centers, Community Libraries, etc.
I continue to advocate that the large flat roof of the Center be used for solar panels that could provide electricity and hot water to the building and continue to seek funding for this purpose.
- I filed a resolution asking that the City include a more energy efficient replacement for the old boiler at the Center as part of the city's application for Federal funding for energy efficient heating systems for city properties. It was included on the city's list. We should hear soon.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009