Are You Hungry?

After a lengthy review of parking availability, the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center has received a permit in the retail space next to Legal Seafood (formerly Gardener’s Eden) for a full-service 275-seat restaurant.  Legal Seafood and Aquitaine have both received permits for outdoor seating of 20 seats and 6 seats respectively. On the ground floor of the Star supermarket, there will be another restaurant with 74 seats, plus retail space of 7,600 square feet. In the upper Chestnut Hill Mall, Bloomingdale’s has plans to replace approximately 2500 feet of retail space with a 50-seat Japanese restaurant.

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New Shaw’s/Star Market/Shopping Center Plans

Now that the new Star Market in the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center has been open for a few months, it is safe to say that it’s a huge improvement over the store it replaced, with more variety and a friendly, helpful staff. You don’t even have to leave the store to get a hot meal or pizza!  In fact, our plea in the last newsletter for “free samples” was answered during the opening celebration. It’s nice to have our neighborhood store back.

The Star Market parking lot continues to be a battlefield for cars, trucks, and pedestrians. Be careful out there!  A uniformed traffic officer has been hired to help keep things moving in/out of the Hammond Street entrance on weekday afternoons.

Other CHA Leadership Changes

In addition to these names, the CHA welcomes new members to its Executive Committee. Tom Greytak, a former president of the CHA, has rejoined the team and brings with him a wealth of experience and longevity in the community. Gloria Gavris, with legal and lobbying job experience on her resume, has also joined the Executive Committee. She brings new ideas and added enthusiasm with her.

See You Around, Ruthanne — Hello Verne!

Ruthanne Fuller, our beloved president, won a landslide victory last November and is now a Ward Seven at-large Alderman. In order to avoid even a hint of conflict of interest, she decided to retire as president of the CHA, but will remain a board member/advisor to continue participating in CHA affairs and events.

Verne Vance, who retired from the Board of Aldermen after a distinguished career in City of Newton leadership, has agreed to be nominated as president to succeed Ruthanne. His name will be put forward for a vote at our next meeting. Many of you already know Verne and his energetic style, and we do not anticipate much opposition to his candidacy. In fact, we are delighted that he has allowed us to pull him deeper into CHA activities.

We cannot be totally pleased that Ruthanne is stepping aside, because her energy, creativity, leadership and winning smile have made an immeasurable contribution to the life and welfare of our neighborhood association over the past several years. The CHA would not be the healthy, wealthy and wise organization we are today without her time, dedication, and hard work.

The good news, of course, is that Ruthanne now has an important voice in the leadership of our City. Her seat on the Finance Committee will ensure that her years of work with Mal Salter and the Citizen Advisory Group will not fade into obscurity and slide off Newton’s agenda.

Off-Leash Dog Park Uproar

Rarely in recent years has anything stirred up as much controversy as the Pilot Program for off-leash dogs at Cold Spring Park on Beacon Street. A number of neighbors who live near the Park are growling about the increase in traffic, dogs running loose where they shouldn’t be, and an overall increase in noise and annoyance caused by the incursion of new or different dogs and people in their back yards.

Dogs and their owners who have been longing for a place to play are generally happy with the program and are eager to see additional off-leash areas introduced in other parts of the City. Such new parks would reduce the burden, such as it is, on Cold Spring Park and would make off-leash play areas available to more dogs and families.

The ideal dog park would be fenced all around, to contain the dogs and reduce the nuisance factor. The cost of such fencing is significant, and the City appears to be broke and unable to afford fences. There lies one of the problems, and you probably won’t see any new fences soon, unless someone can raise the money.

Chestnut Hill Square Development

The outlook for the New England Development project called Chestnut Hill Square (site of the former Omni supermarket on Route 9) has been somewhat clouded over the past several months, largely due to the economic recession and sharp declines in the investment and capital  markets. We understand that the project is “on hold” rather than terminated, and we can expect some type of updated news soon.  The Chestnut Hill Association will invite the developer to brief us on the project at our Annual Meeting on November 19 at 6:30 p.m. .