Attention Business Owners
Somerville Local First realizes the impact that city policy has on local businesses. Therefore, we have teamed up with Ward 5 Online, created by board member Courtney O'Keefe, to bring business owners and their patrons the latest updates on the legislative front in Somerville.
Welcome to Ward 5 Online
- Mayor Cites City's Strengths and Challenges in Business Town Hall Discussion
During his presentation titled, "Progress, Growth, Service," Curtatone pointed out ways the City's has invested in improving its economic performance, but also cited areas where the City could improve.
Whether it was improving the East Somerville streetscape or rolling out a new design for Davis Square, Curtatone highlighted the rapidly-changing physical setup of Somerville as one of the biggest changes the City is undergoing to attract new businesses and patrons. One future project noted was the grounding of the McCarthy Overpass and replacing it with a boulevard featuring bike lanes and wider sidewalks. East Somerville also features wider sidewalks giving restaurants an opportunity to expand services to outside seating and traffic upgrades in an effort to make the business district easier to navigate by foot or bicycle.
East Somerville and Davis Square are joined by Brickbottom, Innerbelt and Central Broadway as focus areas for rejuvenation according to the presentation. Davis Square is close to 100% design completion with renderings scheduled to be rolled out this summer. Brickbottom and Innerbelt are both slated for infrastructure upgrades while community feedback sessions are already underway for Central Broadway linking Foss Park to Magoun Square.
Major physical changes have made Somerville one of the top-ten most bikeable and walkable cities...honors that have led to economic stability, Curtatone insisted.
Although Somerville has made great strides in economic performance, there is still work to be done and Mayor Curtatone was not shy about pointing out areas where the City falls can certainly improve to be on the same pace as businesses.
For example, the Inspectional Services Department has been a main priority, not only for the Mayor, but for the full Board of Aldermen, as well. The addition of an Inspectional Coordinator, more convenient hours, dedicated inspectors for dumpsters and rodents, and an upgraded front office have been good steps forward for the department. The average response time for ISD has dropped from 30 days to just under a week, according to the presentation. The Mayor did, however, note that the department still has a long way to go to keep up with demand.
On May 21st, the City really stepped up their game with the launch of Citizen Serve where users can purchase permits and schedule inspections. Although not all permits or licenses are available at this time, the website alleviates a huge burden for those looking to do construction work in the City. The information compiled by the website will be available to inspectors, via iPad, out in the field. The Mayor announced the launching at the Business Town Meeting.
The administration is not only committed to making Somerville physically attractive for the current and potential business community, but also making it safer too. Somerville's crime stats have showed significant decreases since 2011. Curtatone credited smaller substations placed in the City for faster response times and more efficient policing that have resulted in a 1/3 cut in crime since 2008.
At the conclusion of the Mayor's presentation, a question and answer period brought up various topics on the minds of the business community. Here are some bullet points the Mayor's response to these questions.
Infrastructure issues with Union Square
- Issues are being assessed
- Will work with chosen developer to resolve
Winter Hill Star Market
- Appeal of previous court decision in the City's favor is being appealed.
- City has made it clear that they want to work with the property owner to have a "food source" in the location.
- This is a State-wide issue that many Mayors (Boston included) are looking into
- Increase housing stock to help stabilize prices
- SomerVision will be reevaluated to see if housing availability needs to be increased
Davis Square Renovation
- 100% design completed with plans set to be rolled out this Summer or Fall
Proposed Removal of Liquor License Cap (my question)
- City is in support of Governor Patrick's proposal
- City has non-transferable licensing program that requires a yearly nominal fee as an alternative to purchasing a license at an astronomical rate
Easing the process of opening a business
- This is known and the City is looking into making this more predictable
Bus line services not in sync with business operating hours
- Conversations with MBTA continue, but will increase as Green Line approaches
- Somerville Local First and Eastern Bank Present: Harvest Fest 2013!
Local Beer, Food and Entertainment to Support Somerville Local First!
Somerville Local First, a nonprofit organization working to build sustainable local economies, will host its fifth annual festival and fundraiser in two sessions on Saturday, October 19, 2013, at the Arts at the Armory. All event proceeds go towards SLF's operating budget to build and strengthen the local movement and local business community in Somerville all year long.
Join Somerville Local First members and local economy advocates far and wide for a day or evening of delicious food from some of Somerville's best local restaurants, local beer from some of the favorite independent brewers from Massachusetts, great live music, games and much more.
This is not your average nonprofit gala and has become one of the most anticipated events in greater Boston. Tickets are on sale now: http://bpt.me/453075.
Somerville Local First Executive Director Kat Rutkin says:
"This annual event showcases what is great about local businesses in Somervilleinnovation, hard work and passionate patrons. All have helped strengthen Somerville's local economy and have made it a great place to live, work and play. It is so exciting to be celebrating all of this in our fifth year of Harvest Fest! "
The festivities will be broken down into two sessions, Session 1 from 2 p.m.5 p.m. and Session
2 from 6 p.m.9 p.m., and will bring together the best businesses in the local movement all under one great roof at the Arts at the Armory.
Harvest Fest would be nothing without the beer; attendees will be able to sample unique brews from a wide selection of Massachusetts breweries. A number of locallyowned and operated Somerville restaurants will be highlighted at each session to satisfy every palate and participants will get a delicious serving of each.
These are the confirmed breweries and other libations to date:
*Berkshire Brewing Company
*Blue Hills Brewing Company
*Mystic Brewing Company
*Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
These are the confirmed restaurants to date:
*Eat at Jumbo’s
*Olde Magoun’s Saloon
More to come!
Entertainment will be provided by Somerville favorites:
*The Sun and the Moon
This is a can’t miss event for supporters of strong local economies, beer lovers, foodies and all those who love Somerville. Harvest Fest has something to offer just about everyone.
- Public Hearing Set for September 5th
- This Sunday: Local is for Lovers Market!
And it’s back for a third time! The Local is for Lovers Marketplace, a thriving event bringing together local artists, crafters and entrepreneurs is coming back to Arts at the Armory on Sunday, August 25th from 11am-5pm. And it’s just in time for Back to School shopping!
We will be graced by the presence of Knucklebones – only $2 to get in to our Knucklebones Mezzanine for all the play you can handle (feel free to bring your kids, too!).
As always, we will have live music, delicious brews and food for sale in the amazing Arts at the Armory Cafe!
Join us. Live Local. Grow community.
- Modelo Butcher Market to Open Today
The Modelo Butcher Market, located at 501 Medford Street in Magoun Square, is open today! This is another new business in a string of businesses that have opened up shop in Magoun, including a beer and wine store, hairdresser, and alterations/dry cleaning service.
Featuring cold cuts, fruits, meats, and seafood, the former Cara Donna location has undergone a massive interior and exterior renovation throughout the winter for today's opening.
Going? Let me know how it is by commenting below!
Ward 5 Online:
Posts About SLF
- BaconPalooza is Back at Olde Magoun's! Carry on.
The fifth annual BaconPalooza menu is back at Olde Magoun's Saloon on Wednesdays only throughout the month of July. Check out the offerings on the 2014 menu and be sure to stop by and get your fix before it's all gone! The menu starts tonight at 5pm.Devilish Eggs – 6pureed shoshito peppers, crumbled bacon dusted with smoked paprikaFig-Alicious – 10figs wrapped in smoked bacon and stuffed with goat cheeseYummy Guacamole – 8avocados, smoked applewood bacon, crumbled blue cheese, assorted chipsBacon Poutine – 10waffle fries, cheese curds, bacon gravy topped with a soft fried eggLobster Bacon Scallion Pancakes – 12black pepper bacon, sweet lobster, ginger plum sauceChicharrones – 10crispy slab bacon drizzled with chimichurri sauceTwice Baked Bacon Potato – 8with chive sour creamBacon Bahn Mi – 12lacquered pork belly, crunchy asian slaw, cilantro mayo on baguetteBacon & Shrimp Pad Thai – 14traditional preparation with added jalapeño bacon and shrimpBacon Bomb Mac & Cheese – 16jalapeño bacon, slab bacon, chicharrones, smoked bacon and pancettaBread Pudding – 7served warm with maple bacon, salted caramel and bourbon ice cream
- Restaurant & Market Tour Highlights Magoun Awesomeness
The Somerville Arts Council held a walking tour of Magoun Square's restaurants and markets on May 29th that featured six locations who offered delicious fare to attendees.
Starting off at Olde Magoun's Saloon, owner Greg Coughlin spoke of his earlier days in the Square and the struggles he had the first three years he was in business. Offering a great German brew, pulled pork sliders and Mac n' Cheese, the 47 year old Coughlin described the diverse clientele he sees. Filled with young professionals during the week, Olde Magoun's changes to a family-friendly brunch spot on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Before moving on to the next location, Coughlin gave each member of the tour a newsletter featuring a free appetizer coupon.
The tour moved on to Pennypacker's where attendees were greeted with sandwiches and a brief synopsis of Pennypacker's business, their food trucks and the Seinfeld-inspired way they came up with the name of their business. Participants of the tour could be seen grabbing seconds for their spouses on the way out.K2 Beer and Wine put out quite a spread for the tour that included 5 tasting stations and food courtesy of Churrasco Buffet & Grill-also located in Magoun Square. The tour joined other patrons participating in the tasting that also featured specialty cheeses at each station.
Modelo Butcher Market and Modelo Bakery & Coffee House, both, hosted the tour group who heard about the butcher market's house-made sausages and how they took a cue from K2 Beer and Wine asking residents what they wanted in their local market. "Should a patron not find something they like", explained the host, "we have no problem ordering it for you." While sitting in the bakery, the same host pointed out all of the specialty cakes, baked items and juices available everyday for purchase. To top it off, each participant walked out with a small container of freshly made edibles.Chicken wraps at Daddy Jones Bar...well...wrapped up the tour around 7:00pm. As the tourists took a seat, owner Dimitra Tsouranis-Murphy explained the Greek-inspired restaurant offerings, as well as, her plans to put patio seating behind the 525 Medford Street location. All participants of the tour were also treated to $10 gift cards to ensure a return back to the Square.For my Twitter friends, you can follow the tour using #TourDeMagoun or by checking out the official Ward 5 Online Twitter handle: @Ward5Online.
- Party like It’s the ’90s at Somerville Local First’s Prom on June 27
The organization that brings you great events such as HarvestFest and The Local is for Lovers Market Series are at it again with their throwback prom set for June 27th at Cuisine en Locale (156 Highland Avenue).
Here is the official press release...At last year’s Somerville Local First Prom we partied like it was the ’80s and this year, we’re jumping ahead a decade so we can party like it’s the ’90s. Join us on Friday, June 27 from 8 p.m.-midnight at Cuisine en Locale (156 Highland Ave.) for Right Here, Right Now!Come rock out to ’90s music all night long at this totally awesome event that’s also a fundraiser for Somerville Local First, nonprofit that encourages a diverse economy that is local, sustainable and fair. Tickets are on sale now.Come to Somerville Local First’s ’90s Prom dressed to impress because we’ll be giving out killer prizes for Prom King, Prom Queen and Something in Between. So don your oversized T-shirt, flip your hat backward and dig out your flannel because the competition is going to be fierce!Remember those heinous prom pictures you promptly hid in your closet? Well, we’ve got a chance for you to snap some better shots. Step into our amazing photo booth complete with ’90s-themed props to capture all your favorite memories from Right Here, Right Now. And no prom would be complete without an after-party, so make sure to enter to win our local beer raffle!Tickets to Somerville Local First’s ’90s Prom are only $20 in advance ($30 at the door). With that you’ll get a free beer in the first hour, fun free goodies and a night you’ll never forget. There will be special cocktails, including one made just for Somerville Local First by Cuisine en Locale, and food available for purchase.
- Magoun Square Restaurant and Market Tour Set for Thursday, May 29th, 6-8 p.m.
Please join the Somerville Arts Council as we explore Magoun Square with the first Restaurant and Market Tour. Magoun Square is a hidden gem of culinary treats that represents a diverse population here in Somerville.
Why a food tour? Because food and drink are a common denominator that gets people talking. In addition, we’ll learn about the history of these stores and how their clientele represents the cultural community of Somerville.
Featured businesses include: Daddy Jones Bar, K2 Beer & Wine, Modelo Butcher Market, Olde Magoun’s Saloon and Pennypacker's. Visitors will have a chance to meet with shop owners and learn more about specific foods and each owner’s cultural traditions.
The tour will be on Thursday, May 29th from 6-8 p.m.
Spots are limited so please RSVP to Carlene Campbell-Hegarty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 625-6600 ext. 2615.
- Somerville Local First to Host Mother's Day Market
With spring in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about Mother’s Day, which will be here before you know it! And there’s no better place to find the perfect gift to show a special mom in your life just how much you care than at Somerville Local First’s Local is for Lovers Mother’s Day Market.The market, which is sponsored by ZipCar, takes place on Sunday, April 27, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville (12A Tyler St.), is free and easily accessible by car or public transportation. All shoppers must fill out a waiver form for Brooklyn Boulders. Save time and fill it out online!The Local is for Lovers Mother’s Day Market will feature 30 local vendors selling everything from jewelry and handmade soap to sweets and clothing. Here is a full list of vendors:Esoterica/Smileybabyhats HatsEmrysSomerville Soap WorksTaraFaeriSecret Ships13mL designsThe Bead LadyStudio GMelsy's IllustrationsSprout PencilThe Quilted ChuppahFreebird DesignsDesigns by EVFBPhotoclaveYellow Sun LisaBatiz JewelryMoxie C CreationsCuddlepill DesignsIn addition to the many local artisans selling their crafts, the Local is for Lovers Mother’s Day Market will include a special appearance by the highly rated Bon Me food truck. It’s a rare chance to sample this delicious food right here in Somerville!Local is for Lovers shoppers will be entertained by live music from David Tanklefsky and PA Trick. This is a very family-friendly event, so bring the kids and snap a new family photo in the photo booth with photographer Mike Barnes. Brooklyn Boulders Somerville will even have special Mother’s Day treats for attendees!Vendors and shoppers at previous Local is for Lovers Market have raved about their experience and the Mother’s Day Market promises to be just as fun. Beth Rosa of Pink Pigeon Creations said, “The crowd was great, and with the focus on kids, there were lots of families and people buying gifts for people with families, which is exactly my market.” Shoppers have commented on the community feel of the markets, a place to gather and see friends while seeing some of the best local vendors around.Shop Local is for for Lovers this Mother’s Day to show mom how much you care about her … and your community!Local is for Lovers Mother’s Day Market media contact:Kat Rutkin, Executive DirectorSomerville Local First