Mayor’s Update

    NewCal

    We’re working hard to find the right location for the Newton Center for Active Living, or NewCal, the all age-friendly community center that will meet the unique interests and needs of seniors while also opening its doors to multigenerational programs.
    The process won’t be easy. The NewCAL project team examined an original list of 145 City-owned and private properties. They found that most were too small or had a building or circumstance that make them unsuitable. They whittled the list to 24 possible locations that meet the 2.5-acre requirement for NewCAL. Many of the sites are Park and Recreation fields, parks and walking trails.
    To narrow the list further will involve an in-depth process with a lot of input and possibly some controversy. I’ve already heard from people opposed to using a part of Cold Spring Park for NewCAL, and residents who use other parks on the list are likely to have concerns.
    We’re listening. Right now, we’re starting to look at the 24 sites thoroughly and thoughtfully, considering not just a viable location for NewCAL, but also the impacts of NewCAL on current important uses, open space and the neighborhood around the 24 sites.
    The NewCal project team, Building Commissioner Josh Morse, Director of Senior Services Jayne Colino and Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Culture Bob DeRubeis are working together with the City Council, the Council on Aging, the Parks and Recreation Commission and residents to find a location that will best fit plans for NewCAL and the needs of the City as a whole. NewCAL will ultimately be a spacious, well-equipped (kitchen, gymnasium) and inviting community center for seniors and others that has outdoor programs and green space.
    The NewCAL Building Committee held one of their regular community information meetings last Thursday night to give an update on the site selection process as well as to introduce the NewCAL architect and design team, Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype (BH+A). The Boston-based architectural and interiors firm designed senior centers in Needham, Scituate and Cohasset, and an intergenerational center in Randolph, among other projects.
    Join us for the next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Newton Education Center (100 Walnut St.), Room 111. Want more info? Find updates here, and the evaluation criteria here.