City Manager to reach out to Belmont, Arlington to discuss Silver Maple Forest

Late last night, the City Council adopted an amended version of Councillor Dennis Carlone's ambitious policy order in support of the Silver Maple Forest. 

Five hours into a six-and-a-half hour meeting, Councillor Carlone moved to advance Order #4 to the floor for discussion with the City Manager, explaining that many fear the developer may be very close to cutting the precious trees. 

After some debate about Cambridge's role in the matter, Councillor McGovern offered a substitute motion, striking out at least a few parts of the original order, but nevertheless calling on the City Manager to hold discussions with fellow administrators in Belmont and Arlington and report back to the council. The vote passed, 8 to 0, with Councillor Carlone voting present.

The meeting opened with two and a half hours of generally superb public testimony, much of which was focused on the value and potential of the Silver Maple Forest, with many speakers making reference to heavy rains and flooding that occurred earlier in day. Cambridge resident Mike Nakagawa brought in color-coded maps to highlight the number of recent large projects in the Alewife Brook floodplain, and others noted the potential for STEAM-related programming at the forest.

After the meeting, Councillor Carlone expressed gratitude for the efforts that many have made to preserve the forest. "I am very proud of the thoughtful and well-conceived comments that we heard from local advocates this evening," Carlone said. "Cambridge is fortunate to have so many caring, forward-thinking residents," he added.

Speaking in support of the Silver Maple Forest was State Representative Dave Rogers, Cambridge School Committee member Patty Nolan, Lesley Professor Amy Mertl, Belmont Town Meeting Member Anne-Marie Lambert, CRLS valedictorian Anisha Nakagawa, FPRA President Jan Devereux, Green Cambridge President Quinton Zondervan, and countless residents, including Pebble Gifford, Mike Phillips, Carmen Phillips, Carol O'Hare, Cathy Hoffman, Carolyn Shipley, Joanna Herlihy, Kathy Watkins, Sue Butler, Gary Dmytryk, Susan Ringler, Heather Hoffman, and many, many more -- this is an unofficial and incomplete list.

Please consider this merely a draft report; this was mostly complied at 1 am following the council's "midsummer meeting" that started at 5:30 pm and adjourned at 12:12 am. Video of the discussion will be available on the city's website today or tomorrow.

Also, this evening, it is expected that WGBH will run a segment that will highlight concerns with the Silver Maple Forest development project; more here:

Thank you to everyone who wrote, emailed, and spoke so eloquently in support of the forest.

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