Dirce (center, with sign) is the owner of G & T Alterations, part of 31 Union Square. Her rent will increase 50% effective July 1. Her story is similar to many other small business owners in Union Square.

The Official Story

The Green Line Extension will bring much-needed development and urban renewal to Union Square, and all residents and businesses will benefit from the investment. Somerville needs to increase its commercial tax base to relieve the burden on residential taxpayers. The master developer candidates are all committed to smart, mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will revitalize the square. The community is represented in this process through the SomerVision report and the Civic Advisory Committee (CAC), and community members have had ample opportunity to share their opinions at CAC meetings and in other forums.

Our Story

Union Square is already a thriving, diverse community, and if community benefits are not included in the redevelopment low-income businesses and residents will be displaced. Union United is a coalition of local stakeholders with a plan to proactively prevent displacement.

We believe that we can have development without displacement, but it requires the community to play an active role in the decision-making process. We have been told by the City that the CAC is the only community group that will have a seat at the table. The CAC is a good group, and we want to work with them to determine community priorities. However, all community members should have a role in the process, as our lives and livelihoods will be determined by its outcome.

Our community benefits agreement (CBA) includes specific demands that will ensure affordable housing, local jobs, workers’ rights, small businesses, community resources, open space, arts and culture, public safety, and participatory planning are part of the redevelopment. If we have a seat at the table to ensure that these demands are met, all community members will be able to take advantage of the benefits that the Green Line will bring.

For too long, low-income people and immigrants have been displaced from our neighborhoods, while profit is prioritized over the needs of the community. We envision an equitable development that benefits everyone and keeps Union Square diverse, affordable, and accessible.

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