Framingham District 8 Council Candidate: Judy Grove

District 8 City Council candidate Judy Grove

District 8 is Precincts 15 & 18

Editor’s Note: If an answer is blank, the candidate chose not to answer it. In full transparency, this is the district where I reside.

Age:  73

Occupation:  Retired Science/Math Teacher, and Ophthalmic Technician

Years lived in Framingham:  37

Municipal experience:  1. Town Meeting Member and Chair of Precinct 15 since 2013. I hold joint meetings in my home for Precincts 15, 16, 17 and 18. I also invite sponsors for various articles such as the Plastic Bag Ban and
Zoning By-law changes to these meetings.
2. Member of the Ways and Means Committee since 2014 and Clerk for 2 years

3. Member of the Rules Committee since 2014
4. Former Member of Standing Committees on Community Services and Planning and Zoning.
5. Member of the Skatepark Advisory Committee

Volunteerism: 1. Founder of the Framingham Skatepark Committee in 2013.
2, I sponsored an article at Town Meeting to build Framingham’s first skatepark after Framingham youth’s efforts were blocked for 13 years and succeeded in getting $500,000 for it. Construction is underway on the shores of Farm Pond.
3. Forced attention on the pollution at Mary Dennison Park. While working to have a skatepark built at Mary Dennison Park, I leaned that it was polluted and that the Town had known this for 24 years. This discovery resulted in MA DEP getting involved and the playground being shut down because of high lead levels. This park is now undergoing further testing and planning for improvements.
4. Co-founder of S.T.O.P. – Stop Toxic Operators and Polluters. Our group is dealing with the issues of Pollution in South Framingham with the focus on Mary Dennison Park, 350 Irving Street and General Chemical.
5. Received the MA Unsung Heroine Award. In 2015 I was nominated by Representative Chris Walsh for my work on Environmental Justice issues.

Website or Facebook page link:  www.judithgrove.org

In less than 100 words, why should someone vote you to represent them as a City Councilor?

Michael Bower, former Selectman wrote:
“In all my years of public service I have never seen a more relentless, tireless and effective advocate for their neighborhood and the issues in their neighborhood than Judy Grove. Judy was instrumental in bringing the environmental issues at Mary Dennison Park to the forefront …and led a decade long crusade for a skate park for our young people. Judy is passionate and intelligent and totally dedicated to
making our community a better place. District 8 residents will benefit by having this dynamo as their City Councilor. Framingham has benefitted from her service already.”

In less than 100 words, describe your district:

District 8 is complex and has a diverse population. Located below Rte 135, it encompasses small retail and commercial businesses, ethnic restaurants and shops, historic buildings including the H.H. Richardson Train Depot, quiet single-family neighborhoods, apartments and public housing projects. It has a town beach on Lake Waushakum and the Amazing Things Arts Center. Issues of crime, traffic and blight have been ignored for decades by our present government. Lack of representation is the main reason I supported the change to a City form of government with a City Councilor and Schools Committee member from each District.

 

Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only.
  • How much would you vote to increase (or decrease) the tax levy in your first year of office? Decrease by 2%
  • I would never cut DPW from the City of Framingham budget. 
  • Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners? YES
  • Should Lake Waushakum beach be open through Labor Day weekend? YES
  • Would you support the construction of a splash pad in Framingham? YES
  • Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham? YES
  • Would you vote for a debt exclusion override to build a new Fuller Middle School in Framingham? YES
  • Should District 8 have its own school? Depends
  • Should a new school be built on the Bethany property? Perhaps
  • What business is needed in your district? Medical
  • What amenity is lacking in your district? Movie theatre
  • Do you support the tax incentives for the new apartments that Town Meeting approved this year? NO
  • Should Framingham become a sanctuary city? NO
  • What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): Cushing Park
  • What is your favorite place in your district? (just one): Amazing Things
  • Life in District 8 is Challenging.
  • I will bring  Experience to the Framingham City Council

QUESTION #1 – In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you go about fixing it as a city councilor?

 

District 8 faces problems of environmental pollution and blight which have been ignored for decades. If elected, I will continue to listen to residents, research their issues and once informed speak up at City Council Meetings like I have at Board of Selectmen, Board of Health, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Parks Meeting. With members of S.T.O.P., an environmental group I founded, I held 3 protests in front of a 20-acre toxic former gas plant site on Irving Street because of 15 mulch fires in 5 years at a landscape business on this property.

Our meetings with the Board of Health and the Fire Department resulted in code enforcement and no fires in the last year. Because of my work, I am well known to staff of the Planning Board which deals with land use, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority which controls access to the Aqueduct trails in SE Framingham, which should be open to the public for walking. I am informed on the issues that most affect our District and want to continue the work I have already begun.

 

QUESTION #2 – The Framingham Public Schools represent more than 50 percent of the total budget for the community. Would you support a level-funded budget, a level service budget, and increase in the school budget or a decrease in the school budget? Why?

Level Service budget because it guarantees that necessary services like Special Education will be continuously funded.

 

 

QUESTION #3 – Traffic is a major issue in your district? The closure of the Winter Street Bridge by MassDOT has been a heachache for the District 8 neighborhoods. But it was made worse by Framingham road work on Route 135, Dudley Road, and Mt. Wayte and Union Avenue – all part of the detour route. How will you work with the neighborhood, other city councilors, and the new mayor to solve the problem.

 

I live 2 blocks from Route 126 used as a route by residents from Ashland and Holliston to get to the Mass Pike. Our massive traffic problem cannot be solved without the cooperation of surrounding towns and State agencies. First, we need a Master Transportation Plan and City Traffic Study to guide us. We need to work with the MA Department of Transportation to create a transportation network to lessen traffic congestion.

 

 

QUESTION #4 – The Brazilian American Center (BRACE) Is located in your district? Do you speak Portuguese? How will you work to make sure the interests of these district residents are heard?

I do not speak Portuguese.

Brace is located at St. Tarcisius Church which I attend. Many of my neighbors are Portuguese and Hispanic. Many of their issues are the same as mine – crime, parking infractions and blight. They know how to reach me and have attended meetings in my home. I will continue to reach out to them and encourage them to get involved in our new City.

 

QUESTION #5 – The Framingham/Worcester commuter rail borders your district. Do you support the transit-oriented development proposed for District 7, 8, and 9? Why or Why not? My vision for downtown Framingham would include …

I support transit-oriented development (TOD) which is a mixed-use residential and commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport. We have a commuter rail to Boston running right through our downtown and it should contribute to the downtown’s revitalization. However, I support it only as long as there is mixed use meaning stores or businesses at the street level with apartments
above them. The apartments proposed for Howard Street and Waverly Street do NOT include mixed use, yet the Board of Selectmen gave the developers over $10 million dollars in TIFs (Tax Incentive Financing). TIFs were properly given to Jacks Abbey brew pubs helping their business to grow, creating jobs and bringing in customers to spend money in South Framingham. Apartments are taxed at a lower tax rate than businesses and add children to our over-crowded schools and should NOT be given TIFs.

My vision for downtown Framingham would be a vibrant destination for visitors to our stores, multi-ethnic restaurants and other small businesses. Commuters would eat dinner or shop here before getting into their cars to drive home. The image of our downtown would become a positive one like that of Waltham or Natick.

 

 

QUESTION #6 –  The arts have struggled in Framingham over the 18 months. Last year, the Danforth museum and art school was evicted from its home of decades, the Framingham Artists Guild had to find a new home, the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest had to find a new home, and dozens of artists including the Fountain Street Fine Arts gallery have left Framingham. How would you support the arts in Framingham as a city councilor?

I am confident that the Danforth Art Museum will become part of Framingham State University. This will speak volumes about the importance of the Arts in Framingham. Since its inception I have been a member of the Amazing Things Art Center which makes good use of its own art gallery. I have purchased works from artists at the Fountain Street Studios. The loss of their building is distressing and
they need help. I would like to see a focus on the arts as a component of revitalizing the Downtown.

The Memorial building is in desperate need of renovation. Town Departments need a new home. I would like to see the Memorial Building become a center for the arts. Nevins Hall is beautiful and is seldom used except for Town Meeting and with the new City it will no longer be used for this purpose.

A small regional orchestra could make Nevins Hall their home base. Let’s draw on our immigrant community to have concerts and festivals there. Art galleries could surround Nevins Hall.

 

 

QUESTION #7 – Do you think your district is safe? How will you work with Police to make sure residents in your neighborhood feel safe?

I have many concerns about safety in my neighborhood. I am aware of robberies and drug dealing. I favor police walking a beat and making their presence known. Neighborhood watch groups could be useful as well as routine meetings with our police department and an officer assigned to each area.

 

 

QUESTION #8 – As a city councilor how will your support the businesses in your district?

Framingham Downtown Renaissance has been doing an excellent job of bringing attention to our downtown businesses by holding restaurant events and walks. I have met owners of these businesses at meeting held by FDR. I have listened to their issues, like lack of parking and vagrants gathering outside their stores. We need to work with the police and social services agencies to address these problems so that patrons will feel safe walking in the downtown. FDR which is not funded by Framingham but by grants, should receive support by the City and especially the City Councilors from Districts 7, 8 and 9.

 

 

QUESTION #9 – Do you think Framingham is family friendly? Why or why not? What would you do to do make the community more inviting to families?

In my area is does not seem family friendly because of traffic, crime and blight issues. These need to be corrected.

 

QUESTION #10 – Framingham is a community of full of social, economic and cultural diversity. What can you do as a councilor to not only represent your district but to bring the nine districts together as one City?

We need a reason for all members of our community to visit our area. I have been advocating for the clean-up and re-design of Mary Dennison Park in District 9. It should have amenities that will bring the diverse cultures together. I had over 800 signatures on a petition to improve Mary Dennison Park which only has 3 baseball fields and a basketball court. Like the passive recreational Cushing Park, MDP could draw residents from all districts if it were Framingham’s active park with a soccer field, volley ball nets, walking and biking paths, an outstanding playground and a splash pad. Cultural events and concerts could be held there like the Concerts on the Green but with Brazilian and Hispanic bands and performers.

 

 

QUESTION #11 – Voter turnout in Precincts 15 and 18, which comprised District 8 was at 23% and 21% on Sept 26. What can you do, if elected, to get more people involved in their district, including voting in local elections?

 

I have been working on this problem by knocking on doors, calling residents and supplying voter registration cards. I have explained that without voting they have no say, but one person cannot make much progress. The schools could be a good resource for getting the message out by teaching children about voting and having them advocate to their parents about this.

 

 

QUESTION #12 –  The biggest problem facing Framingham that no one talks much about is: _________________ And I would address it by: _____________.

overcrowding in houses and apartments on the South side and illegal parking.

And I would address it by: enforcing our existing parking and nuisance by-laws. I grew up in Melrose where there is no over-night parking allowed on the streets. Because of this the have virtually no illegal apartments. We could not eliminate overnight parking but we could make sure people are not parking illegally (i.e. all over their lawns and blocking sidewalks.) We need strict enforcement from the building
department and the police on this issue.

 

QUESTION #13 – The south side of town takes a lot of hits. If you were in charge of a PR campaign for the area south of Route 135 what would the slogan be? How would you market the area to those in other Districts? What type of event would you organize to highlight the area’s  strength? Where would you hold it? How would you make sure the neighborhoods south of Route 135 are not looked at as “inferior” to other parts of town? How will you make sure they get equitable services and respect?

Slogan: “SORO (South of Route 135) Like New York City – Ethnically diverse Residents, Restaurants, and Recreation”.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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