Mission creep at NewCAL

Many people have written comments here or to me directly in agreement with my article suggesting that parkland, open space, or other protected land should not be used for the proposed senior center, aka NewCAL. But we all recognize, as well, that the current facility on Walnut Street needs replacement. How do we thread the needle between these two desires?

One of my heroes, long-time developer and philanthropist Norman Leventhal, always used to ask me and others considering a new project: “What’s the program?” He would follow this question by saying, “The program will drive the design.”

In the case of NewCAL, the process for determining the program was flawed. I’m not saying that those working on the concept were poorly intentioned. I’m saying, instead, that their

Slow down on NewCAL

Slow down on NewCAL

As a long-time public administrator, I always take heart when an elected official has the creativity to propose a forward-looking project for the benefit of the public.  It’s not easy to go through the process of scoping, planning, designing, siting, and funding such...
Hey buddy, can you spare a couple acres?

Hey buddy, can you spare a couple acres?

You might recall that the city has embarked on an ambitious project to replace our current, insufficient Senior Center with a new ‘Center for Active Living’ (NewCAL).  A project team has been working since last spring to define the programmatic needs and...

NewCAL – What?

This is a guest blog post. 

I participate in several exercise classes at the Newton Senior Center. During the previous municipal election season I was present when candidates listened to seniors asking for a larger and upgraded senior center. Post-election, the Mayor’s office decided to push for a multigenerational facility called NewCAL – Newton Center for Active Living, instead of a new or expanded senior center. This switch has not been welcomed by folks who frequent the Senior Center.

The proposed name marginalizes seniors who are

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