[Controversy over development of University Park]
Original Airdate: 1/7/1988
Item Type: newstape - edited story master
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Visual: Footage of a group of protesters marching through a snowy lot near Central Square in Cambridge, chanting "We say no to MIT."
Meg Vaillancourt reports that a small band of Cambridge activists are protesting the development of 27 acres of land owned by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); that MIT is working with Forest City Developers to build a multi-million dollar research and development complex; that the proposed site is known as the Simplex site.
V: Shots of protesters standing near a sign for University Park at MIT; of the sign for University Park. Footage of a protest leader addressing the crowd of demonstrators. The protesters carry signs.
Vaillancourt reports that the activists claim that developers deliberately misled the public; that the developers underestimated the size and scope of the project.
V: Footage of Bill Cavellini (Simplex Steering Committee) saying that the developers told the public that they would build a $250 million development; that the developers will build a $500 million development. Cavellini tells Vaillancourt that the activists received documentation about the development from a confidential source. Cavellini says that Forest City Developers have been deceptive and have breached the public's trust. Footage of Ken Campbell (MIT) saying that the activists got hold of documents from October of 1987; that the Cambridge City Council approved the plan for the site in December of 1987; that the plan approved by the Council includes 400,000 square feet of housing. Shot of documents and information distributed by the opponents of the plan.
Vaillancourt reports that the University Park Development Plan includes housing, a hotel and a 12-screen cinema; that a four- to six-screen theater had been discussed by the developer in public.
V: Shot of a vacant lot in Cambridge, covered with snow; of a group of people standing outside of a house in Cambridge.
Vaillancourt reports that opponents say that numerous zoning changes will be required to build the project, including the widening of streets and the removal of the city fire station in Central Square.
V: Shot of a group of protesters; of a sign reading, "Cambridgeport has decided to stop MIT expansion."
Vaillancourt says that MIT and the Simplex Steering Committee differ on how much low-income housing will be built on the site.
V: Footage of Campbell saying that MIT has doubled the amount of affordable housing in the original proposal; that MIT is proposing 100 low-income units and 50 moderate-income units. Footage of Bill Noble (Simplex Steering Committee) saying that MIT's definition of low- and moderate-income is not accurate; that MIT is really proposing moderate- and middle-income units.
Vaillancourt reports that there are many homeless people in the area; that activists and the homeless do not always agree on how to oppose the development. Vaillancourt says that the homeless do not think that the protesters are representing the interests of the homeless.
V: Footage of a female protest leader addressing the demonstrators and the press. A scuffle breaks out between Cavellini and Carlos (homeless man). Footage of Carlos addressing the demonstrators. Carlos says that affordable housing is not the same thing as housing for the homeless. A female protester yells that Carlos does not represent the views of the community. A shouting match ensues.
Vaillancourt reports that Mel King (community activist) tried to bring the two sides together.
V: Footage of King addressing the crowd. King says that the two sides must unite to fight against the greed of MIT. Members of the crowd cheer.
Vaillancourt reports that the Cambridge City Council will vote on MIT's proposal on Monday.
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