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Somerville strikes deal with T on land for Union Square Station

Posted by Matt Byrne  August 3, 2012 06:00 PM

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The City of Somerville and state transportation authorities have finalized an agreement to sell land to the MBTA for a Union Square Station on the Green Line Extension, the city announced Friday.

According to the memorandum of understanding, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority will administer and oversee the purchase of three parcels of privately held land estimated to cost $8 million, in exchange for permanent use by the MBTA of part of a roadway for pick up and drop-off service, as well as temporary construction easements.

"This is another major step forward both in making the Green Line Extension a reality, and in planning for the future of one of the most dynamic development areas in our city," Mayor Joe Curtatone said. "It's also a strong reaffirmation of our close working relationship with the Patrick Administration, and especially the state's transportation leadership."

The agreement also was an opportunity for Curtatone and the city to extract from the T and the Mass Department of Transportation a reaffirmed promise  to stick to a timeline. It calls for securing a contractor for final design services in September, followed by work to begin on the Medford Street Bridge in October, which requires improvements to accommodate the coming Green Line traffic.

In exchange for the city footing the cost of acquiring the land, the MBTA and MassDOT agreed to pay for cleanup at the site of the future station near Webster Avenue and Prospect Street.

With the agreement, the city said it looks forward to an operational transit station opening by late 2016 or early 2017.

"The positive effects on our residents and on the local business community make this a very welcome announcement," said Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston, in the statement. "But as always, there will be a need to manage the acquisition process with care and sensitivity, and to be very prudent about how we decide to pay for the properties the city will have to acquire."

Curtatone said he and others would present a fuller picture of their vision for Union Square in an Urban Revitalization plan, to be presented to the Board of Aldermen later in August, Curtatone said in the statement.

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