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Monday, October 23, 2006

A lot of common ground

NewtonCentre.JPG
An archway on the sidewalk frames the photo of the intersection of Beacon and Centre streets at the corner of the public parking lot in Newton Center. (Photo: Bill Polo/Globe Staff)

NEWTON

A task force studying development in Newton Centre has three study groups - one looking at low-intesity growth, one medium growth, and one at a more substantial build-out – that are trying to reach consensus.

They have agreed on one thing so far: wiping out the triangle of a parking lot bounded by Beacon and Centre streets and Langley Road, according to Charles Eisenberg, chairman of the task force, which was appointed by Mayor David B. Cohen.

What would replace it is another matter. Some members of the group some want open space. Others want some sort of building -- a performing arts center has been one suggestion -- that would encourage active public use.

Eisenberg said the groups are also divided over whether to build a new parking garage, and if so, where.

Theresa Park, the city’s economic development specialist who works with the Task Force, said while participants all want beautification, the challenge is “how does one finance and maintain those improvements.”

Perhaps the thorniest issue to be decided will be whether to keep the height and size of buildings about the same or to allow build-up by three or four stories, making room for more commercial space and housing.

The public will get its say at an open meeting in mid-November, with the date and time yet to be set.

-- Connie Paige

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