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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Welcome to the Winter Hill discussion forum. Some members of our community are eager to have a place to post interesting news, chatter, events, or any sort of discussion related to living in the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville, MA. This is an outgrowth of the Winter Hill Neighborhood Association's (WHNA) outreach efforts.

Mission statement (6/16/17): The WHNA's mission is to bring together all residents of Winter Hill to protect and improve upon the things we love about our neighborhood and to have a say in its future by building unity among neighbors. 

This is modeled on the successful community forum of Davis Square: Thanks to Ron Newman for help in learning about the features of community forums and for wise moderation advice.

We hope to collect useful information about community issues, businesses, services, and sometimes just gossip or interesting tidbits related to our neighborhood.

Other Winter Hill relevant links:
Facebook group: 
Google groups (mailing list):
This forum:

WHNA is currently holding regular meetings on the first Wednesday of each month, 7pm, often at the St. Polycarp community room or the Mystic Activity Center. But sometimes the meeting will be held in other neighborhood locations. We'll post the current meeting details prior to each meeting. 

I am Mary Mangan, current admin, and we'll see how this goes! Feel free to offer comments, suggestions, guidance, or any other thoughts you have on how this community should evolve. Off we go!

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Protect your pets, neighbors! Just a couple of weeks back there was a raccoon in my back yard--it can happen here. 

This is a bargain price for rabies vaccination--just $10.

Event Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 10:00am - 12:00pm

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, the Health & Human Services Department, and Somerville Animal Control are pleased to host the 19th Annual Rabies Clinic in the yard at the DPW Highway Garage on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10 a.m. to noon. The City's annual rabies clinic gives residents an easy and affordable opportunity to have their dogs and cats vaccinated against the rabies virus. On-site dog licenses are also available. All Somerville residents are required to license their dogs, and a current rabies vaccine is required to obtain a license. 

When you arrive, enter the gate to the right of the main building and follow signs for the Rabies Clinic. The cost of the vaccine is $10 for both dogs and cats. The cost of a dog license is $20 for spayed and neutered dogs with proof and $30 for all other dogs. Please note that cats must be in carriers and dogs must be leashed. Prior vaccination record is required to obtain a three (3) year license, otherwise all vaccinations will be valid for one (1) year.

For more information please contact the Health & Human Services Department at 617-625-6600 ext 4300.

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Also from Lisa's newsletter, screening of this film. It is about families in Somerville who have faced addiction and the consequences. I'll paste the trailer below.


April 15th, 7pm
Screening of film Runnin’ and Q&A Panel Discussion

Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square
In collaboration with the Alex Foster Foundation, the public is invited to a screening of the documentary Runnin’, with discussion following, as well an Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Training. This film is an intimate look into the opioid crisis and individuals, families and communities it affects, while also examining the role of pharmaceutical companies. Free, donations accepted. Questions? Contact

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Via Lisa Brukilacchio's April 2019 Somerville Health Happenings newsletter: 

April 24th 2019, 5:30-7pm

Property Owner Workshop: Reaching out, with a Helping Hand

Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave

The City’s Office of Housing Stability & the Fair Housing Commission in collaboration with CAAS, present an evening for all residential property owners to learn about resources, programs and assistance the City of Somerville provides, including: 0% loans for home rehab and heating system replacement, MassSave, Fair Housing Law and Exemptions, working with the new Office of Housing Stability. Questions? Call 617-625-6600 x2578 or email
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
I'm sure many of the Winter Hillens will want to help out with the annual neighborhood cleanup this year again. Great turnout last year, and we got so much done.

Here is the city announcement, but we'll have more details as it gets closer. I think this time means the sign-in and breakfast, but the clean up itself will move to the neighborhoods and then run for a couple of more hours.

Put this on your calendar:

Saturday, May 4, 2019 - 9:00am - 10:00am

Blessing of the Bay Boathouse
32 Shore Dr.
Somerville, MA 02145

Clean Up at locations throughout Somerville

Hosted: City of Somerville & Groundwork Somerville
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Justin and I are working with the city's Historic Preservation team to have a neighborhood walk on May 5 2019. 2pm. Starting at about 425 Broadway on the top of Winter Hill. 

If you are new to Jane's Walk, here's more detail:

We are currently planning to start it at the very top of Winter Hill, and wind our way down to Gilman Square. If you have insights, special stops, great local tidbits, we hope you'll help us out. 

DID YOU KNOW: Abigail Adams had coffee on Winter Hill. I have the letter that describes this. I'll share it on the walk. 

More details to come, but we wanted to get the word out now to get you thinking about great items for the walk. And put the placeholder on your calendar.

In addition, we hear there will be a showing of the film Citizen Jane: Battle for the City that week. Stay tuned for details, but in case you are curious, this is the film.

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
As many of you know, one of the options for the Star Market property is a city acquisition of the site by eminent domain. I thought maybe this story about a property in the city might be informative about that:

Somerville’s continued use of eminent domain

5 years.

“That parcel has been vacant for 5 years and the partners who own it have been battling each other in court for most of that time,” said Ward 5 Councilor Mark Neidergang. “So since there was nothing there and no prospects anytime soon for it being developed, and since the city needed a public safety building, the administration asked the board for that $8.7M to take it using the right of eminent domain.”
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Our Winter Hill Neighborhood Association team and several co-sponsors are hosting this film and discussion in lieu of our monthly meeting this month. Also note: we are not having the first-Wednesday meeting in March to have this instead.

Please note the RSVP link and sign up, because the folks at Mystic have capacity limits.


Via Jesse Clingan's newsletter:

"The Staircase" Screening
Wednesday March 13, 2019
Mystic Activity Center
530 Mystic Ave Somerville MA 02145
I'm excited to be a co-host for this free screening which shows how together people can make change in their own neighborhood, in this case our very own Ward 4.
The 45 minute film is about the struggle to build a staircase to connect the Mystic housing development with the adjacent Healey School. For years "the mountain," a dangerously steep and unstable slope created a barrier between the housing and the school. Kids either walked the many blocks to go around or risked injury going over. But in the late 1970s and early 1980s community and tenant organizing, multiple youth film projects, local access cable and public meetings finally led to action. It is a success story that we can learn from today and provides important context for the current calls for better connections between the Healey, the Mystics and the river. Please join us for food, the film and a discussion!
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Hey Hillens--

I've heard about these kinds of efforts, but hadn't seen one around here. I know there are running groups that do this, and it seemed like an interesting idea to combine some fitness and some community. Anyone interested in something like this? The link is broken but I'll try to get more info.

[personal profile] ian_winterhill
The City hosted a community meeting about their Winter Hill in Motion project. They are calling it a "tactical urbanism" project. You can see the slides from the presentation here.

The quick takeaways were something like this:
  • This is not a large scale street improvement project, although it will be a significant change.
  • They will not be repaving the street or working on sidewalks. Instead the bulk of the work will be with paint, plastic bollards, and signal timing.
  • The scope of the project is Broadway between Magoun Sq and McGrath Highway (in both directions). The main change will be painting Broadway to designate two lanes in each direction--one for cars (closest to the median) and one restricted to just buses and bikes. 
  • In addition to/in support of the lane designations there will be several other markings/changes including turning lanes, crosswalks, areas where the bike lane is protected from traffic
  • For the most part the parking will stay the same but there will be some spots removed and some added, with a net loss of parking.
  • In addition to the City's work, the MBTA will also be removing some bus stops and moving some others so as to space out the stops a little more evenly
  • For many more details, see the power point presentation here.
  • Sign up for the emails here. 
  • And the project page is here:
  • Local news coverage here.

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
One of the ideas we've been toying with is a kind of SomerStreets festival for Winter Hill. The other neighborhoods have them, we could too. And wouldn't it be neat to take advantage our our particular brand--the Hill!

Via Jesse Clingan's newsletter:

Winter Hill Neighborhood Association; Soap Box Derby & SomerStreets
Wednesday February 6 at 7:00PM
St. Polycarp room this time [Really, Polycarp]
"The Winter Hill Neighborhood Associations regular monthly meeting will be focused on exploring a Soap Box Derby down Winter Hill. The group has been discussing the  possibility of coordinating with City to host a SomerStreets (the Arts Council’s summer events that have been hosted in most neighborhoods except Winter Hill where a main street is shutdown). The WHNA recognizes the large amount of time and effort that an event of this scale would require. September was the suggested goal for the event, or possibly October . Come take part in this discussion."

Join the Hillens to discuss the idea of a wild Soap Box derby. Have a look at this one in Denmark to get an idea of the concept: 

Of course, we'll touch on the regular other items that come up around the neighborhood, but this meeting will include a specific section on this possible festival idea. One of our members has done a deep dive on having an event of this sort and will report in to us. 

A quick other note: our next meeting has to be moved to the second Wednesday of March, so plan for March 13 at 6:30pm at the Mystic room for this event:

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
This week's Resistat newsletter had a couple of new digital literacy classes offered--and one of them I'm involved with. We are doing a DNA literacy class with BosLab to help people understand the kinds of things you can (and can't) do with 23andme or Ancestry or other types of tests like that. Or why some people choose not to do them. 

Expand Your Digital Literacy with Free Classes
Through the Skill Up Somerville program, the City's Economic Development Office has awarded grants to local organizations to offer digital literacy and tech programs. Here are a few free classes coming up:
Somerville Media Center is offering a variety of classes into the summer on a variety of subjects including smartphone use, podcasting, and digital photography. You can find the full schedule and registration information on the Somerville Media Center website.
If you're interested in learning more about DNA analysis and its relationship to genealogy and health information, you can take a one-day class with BosLab on March 3, which dives into some of those issues. You can find out more and register online.
If you'd like to go more in-depth on DNA, BosLab is also offering a three-session genetic literacy class that begins on February 25. You can find out more and register online.

Actually, we are covering the same content in both the 1-day and the 3-session, but we thought some people might like to take it more slowly... Same material.
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Via Somerville community alert newsletter:

Volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corp: Info Meeting Thurs., Feb. 7

The Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) is a volunteer opportunity for residents to support the health and safety of our community by assisting in the City's response to emergency situations such as natural disasters, disease outbreak, chemical accidents, or bioterrorism. MRC members are provided ongoing free training, supplies, and usable skills. Trainings have included: First Aid, CPR, Mental Health First Aid, Stop the Bleed, NARCAN administration, family disaster/emergency preparation, and more. The MRC is made up of both medical and non-medical volunteers. Additional volunteer opportunities may include support at community events, vaccination clinics, or helping to open a shelter during snowstorms or heat waves.

To learn more about the MRC join us at the upcoming Somerville Public Health/ Medical Reserve Corp information and registration meeting on Feb. 7. If you can’t make the Feb. 7 information session, you can still sign up anytime at
When: Thursday, February 7, 6-7 p.m.
Where: Cross Street Senior Center, 165 Broadway

Contact Sara Harris, PHN at 617-625-6600 x4320 with any questions.
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Winter Hill in MotionVia email:

Winter Hill in Motion Community Meeting

Please join our transportation planning team to learn about Winter Hill in Motion – a project that will include bus lanes, bike lanes, and retimed traffic signals on Central Broadway.
Monday, February 4, 2019
6:30pm - 8:00pm
Healey School Cafeteria, 5 Meacham St

There will be a presentation by city staff on the work to date, followed by a discussion of the proposed plan. We hope to see you there! If you have any questions email
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill

Via Ben Ewen-Campen on twitter:

An article about displacement in Somerville, and the possibility of a Tenant's Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).

More housing alone won’t solve housing crisis

[personal profile] ian_winterhill
The Winter Hill Neighborhood Association and the Mystic Tenant Association will be hosting a screening of the 1986 film "The Staircase" on Wednesday, March 13 at 6:30pm in the Activity room of the Mystic View Apartments, 530 Mystic Ave. The film documents the tenant struggle to get a staircase built up "the mountain" between the Mystic Apartments and the Healey School. 
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
UPDATE: a page with the routes that are changing is now available:

But even if it doesn't have a change (indicated by the dark blue color), the route info sheet done for each one is fascinating. And they "score" the busses with values for the kind of service it offers on that route. These seem like they might be useful to know for the future too.

For example: 
89: Route 89 is moderately important route within the MBTA network (see Figure 2). On a relative scale of 0 to 10, the route rates 5.2 in terms of ridership, 3.6 in terms of transit dependent ridership, and 6.9 in terms of its value to the network (which reflects the number of people who are uniquely served, the number of jobs and other important destinations, and the number of transferring passengers). Its overall score, which gives a 70% weight to overall ridership and a 15% weight to both other measures, is 5.6. 
101: Route 101 has moderately high importance within the overall system (see Figure 2). On a
relative scale of 0 to 10, the route rates 5.8 in terms of ridership, 5.7 in terms of transit
dependent ridership, and 8.4 in terms of its value to the network (which reflects the
number of people who are uniquely served, the number of jobs and other important destinations, and the number of transferring passengers). Its overall score, which gives a 70% weighting to overall ridership and a 15% weight to both other measures, is 6.6.   

Someone reviewed and commented on the changes here, which I found helpful.

A transit mailing list I'm on had an announcement of these "open house" events to talk about the bus updates of some sort. I haven't been following the project before, but you can learn more here:

And the email version of the meeting list is here, you can also see them at the project web site.


You are subscribed to Better Bus Project updates from the MBTA. We'd like to thank everyone for sharing your important feedback over the past year. We heard from more than 3,000 of you. By attending meetings, talking to us at bus stops, providing online feedback, and emailing us, you told us what's important to you:
•       You want more frequent and more reliable bus service.
•       You want more routes that run frequent service all day, not just during
peak hours.
•       You'd rather have a few, reliable options for your trip than many, less
reliable ones.

At the end of January, we will be sharing a package of proposals to update and modernize some existing routes. The proposals will lay the foundation for a bus network with more frequent, reliable service that provides better connectivity in Greater Boston...and we want your feedback on these proposals.

Join us at an Open House

We will be hosting a series of Open Houses over the next several weeks, starting at Boston City Hall Plaza and different bus stations around the region. Feel free to stop by any time during our open house hours.

Location        Date    Open House Times

Boston City Hall Plaza
Thursday, January 31    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Wonderland Station
Tuesday, February 5     4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Haymarket Station
Wednesday, February 6   1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Ashmont Station
Wednesday, February 13  4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Sullivan Square Station
Tuesday, February 19    8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Forest Hills Station
Wednesday, February 27  3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Malden Center Station
Monday, March 4 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

We will also be at upcoming MBTA Community Meetings and will share the details soon.

Please visit to learn more about the project, sign up for email updates, and review project materials.

Thank you,
The Better Bus Project Team

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
I have heard there is dispute about who is "Mary" of "Little Lamb" fame. But in any case, this made me laugh:
Mary Sawyer Tyler was the object of the poem Mary Had a Little Lamb. She lived in Somerville throughout her adult life and worked at McLean Hospital, volunteered as an aide during the Civil War, and helped save Boston’s historic Old South Church from demolition. My personal rendition of the poem is “Mary Had a Little Lamb, she came from Somerville, and everywhere that Mary went, she had to climb a hill!”

I've been increasingly interested in the local history lately, and something I stumbled on recently was a great deal of Winter Hill fort information. Our hill was a great location to see what was happening in Charlestown proper and Boston during the Revolutionary War. A major and influential account of the Battle of Bunker Hill came from someone said to be perched on Winter Hill:

Elijah Hide: 
...When the enemy returned to Bunker's-Hill, and the Provincials to Winter's-Hill, where after intrenching and erecting batteries, they on Monday began to fire upon the Regulars on Bunker's-Hill, and on the ships and floating batteries in the harbour when the Express came away. The number of Provincials killed is between 40 and 70; 140 are wounded, of the Connecticut troops 16 were killed.---No officer among them was either killed or wounded, excepting Lieutenant Grosvenor, who was wounded in the hand. A Colonel, or Lieutenant Colonel of the New-Hampshire forces, is among the dead. It is also said that Doctor Warren is undoubtedly among the slain.
The Provincials lost three iron fix-pounders, some intrenching-tools, and a few knapsacks.
The number of Regulars which at first attacked the Provincials on Bunker's-Hill was not less than two thousand, the number of the Provincials was only fifteen hundred, who it is supposed would soon have gained a compleat victory, had it not been for the unhappy mistake already mentioned. The regulars were afterwards reinforced with a thousand men. It is uncertain how great a number of the regulars were killed or wounded; but it was supposed by the spectators, who saw the whole action, that there could not be less than four or five hundred killed. Mr. Gardner, who got out of Boston on Sunday evening, says, that there were five hundred men brought into that place the morning before he came out.
This account was taken from Elijah Hide, of Lebanon, who was a spectator on Winter's Hill, during the whole action....

Check out this sketch of the Winter Hill fortifications, from a powder horn of the time:
[personal profile] ian_winterhill

WHNA Meeting Notes from 1/9/2019

We reviewed a list of possible meeting topics and events for 2019 from our December meeting. We added more to the list and then prioritized and discussed several. We then scheduled (or at least assigned some to calendar months) and one or more person volunteered to bottom line each. There were also some events or topics that were discussed but not actually scheduled. More details below.


Meetings/events that we discussed and scheduled:

February 6, regular monthly meeting focused on exploring a Soap Box Derby down Winter Hill. We talked about the possibility of coordinating with City to host a Summer Streets (the Arts Council’s summer events that have been hosted in most neighborhoods except Winter Hill where a main street is shutdown). Folks recognized the large amount of time and effort that an event of this scale would require. We also talked about possible ways to scale it down (side streets as opposed to Broadway, doing it on our own without the Arts Council, etc.). Folks mentioned some other possible partnerships with the schools, Parts and Crafts, Tufts and more. September was the suggested goal. All agreed that our February meeting should be used to further explore. In the meantime, Alderman Clingan has reached out to the Arts Council to see about the possibility of Winter Hill hosting a Box Car themed Summer Streets in Winter Hill. See Tim’s email with a lot more thoughts on this.

March: Screening and discussion of The Staircase.

Date not yet determined but in the place of our regular meeting we would like to host a screening of The Staircase movie followed by a discussion. The Staircase is a 1986 documentary about Mystic View Housing residents organizing to get a staircase built between the Mytstics and the Healey Ian will bottom line this but if anyone is interested in helping, please contact him! 

April: Two things: 1) regular monthly meeting 2) participation in the City’s Spring Cleanup (usually the Saturday before or after Earth Day). The City provides supplies and a BBQ at Blessing of the Bay. We can try to choose a section of our neighborhood to clean up. Mary will bottomline this, but if anyone is interested in helping, please contact her.

May: Historical Walking Tour of Winter Hill. A walk to some known and lesser known historical sights, buildings, and locations in the neighborhood (for example, did you know that top of Winter Hill used to be home to a massive revolutionary fort?). Candice said she will bottom line this, but if anyone is interested in helping, please contact her.

June: City-wide neighborhood groups summit (I think we paired this to December? Might have been November?). In coordination/partnership with the many other neighborhood groups across the city, we imagine a City-wide summit where groups could share best practices, tools, goals, stories, victories, challenges, etc. 

July: Basketball tournament at the Mystics in July. Ian and Steph will continue to discuss and come up with a more formal proposal. Maybe kids vs adults? Maybe challenge other neighborhood groups? To be determined, ideas most welcome!

August: Regular meeting? No meeting? We didn’t pair an event or activity to August.

September: Soap Box Derby! Actual feasibility to be determined. But can keep open for the box cars or another hill themed outdoor event.

October: Tenant Education Workshop (goal of making this an annual event). Ellen Schactner from the City’s Office of Housing Stability was not able to come to our last one but said she’d come if we held another one. Steph said he will coordinate this and we’ll try to partner with the Mystic Tenant Association to co-host it.

November: Regular meeting? No meeting? We didn’t pair an event or activity to November

December: Regular meeting? No meeting? We didn’t pair an event or activity to December. Or end of the year celebration?

There were several other ideas that we discussed but not paired with a month or met with a commitment to pursue this year. There are open months and always next year so we will continue to develop these ideas and see where it goes.

Conversation with an urban economist. Or an urban development academic or someone from the development world that does not have a vested interest in Winter Hill but would be will to speak frankly about how developers see our neighborhood. We don’t want to limit what happens in Winter Hill to what a developer sees as feasible, but we would like to have a better understanding of how they assess the potential. Why are luxury condos or apartments the only things proposed? What are their profit margins? What are their timelines? What are the make or break factors?

Chili cook off (might be possible to roll into another event)

Some kind of event or activity that would support the businesses in the neighborhood (again, might be a part of another event).

Helping implement some aspects of the Somerville Climate Action plan. Some parts of the plan included neighbor to neighbor outreach, local resiliency and preparedness plans. 

Another meeting with City staff from the Economic Development office to talk about implementation of the Neighborhood Plan.

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
I know it's last minute, but I just realized the new Somervision meeting wasn't posted here. But I also noticed this WWS (where we stand) presentation about what has transpired since 2010's plan. (It's a PDF)


SomerVision 2040 Kickoff
6 - 8 pm
Tuesday, January 15
The Armory, 191 Highland Ave

Join the City of Somerville as we share our progress on SomerVision 2030 and our plans for creating SomerVision 2040 as a community. We encourage everyone to attend and want to hear from you!

We are also seeking to establish a SomerVision 2040 committee. We have invited representatives of local organizations but realize that even our best attempts might still miss some organizations, constituencies, and or community groups that want to participate. Please fill out this form if you wish to participate. Deadline for application submittal is January 25, 2018.

Lastly, check out our newly released document, The Path Since 2010, which captures the programs and initiatives that have been implemented since SomerVision was adopted and introduces the new plans and research that have emerged since.

Visit to learn more, view the original plan, progress reports, and data mapping.

mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill
 Healey Schoolyard Community Meeting, January 10

Please join the Somerville Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development and Ward 4 Alderman Jesse Clingan for a community meeting on Thursday, January 10 to discuss design plans for the Healey Schoolyard. The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Healey School cafeteria at 5 Meacham St. For more information or with any questions about the project, please contact Arn Franzen at

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or



Jackie Rossetti

Deputy Director of Communications

City of Somerville

617-625-6600 ext 2614


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