Snow Rules, City Funds for Small Businesses and Nonprofits, and More!
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Ready for Snow?
The Department of Public Works and its contractors are responsible for clearing all 462 streets in Somerville, and clearing sidewalks abutting public property, walkways in municipal parks and open spaces, crosswalks, curb ramps and landings that provide access to push buttons at signalized crosswalks, and bus stops and paths to and from bus stops. Streets and walkways will be treated with salt or sand prior to or during snowfall as appropriate.
A snow emergency may be declared whenever four or more inches of snow are predicted. Once a snow emergency has been declared, the City’s Communications Department will notify community members through citywide alerts issued by phone, email, and/or text message to subscribed users. Community members can subscribe to this system to receive the latest information.
To ensure plows can make all roads accessible and safe, the City restricts parking to only one side of the street during a declared snow emergency. Because this winter begins in an even-numbered year (2022), parking during a snow emergency is allowed on the even-numbered side of the street only, unless the street has posted signage that states otherwise. Vehicles must be moved off the odd side of the street within four hours after the snow emergency has been declared, or they will be ticketed and towed.
Due to limited parking in the city, municipal lots are made available to residents during snow emergencies. The City maintains a list and map of available lots. Parking is not allowed in school lots during snow emergencies.
Ticketing and towing of vehicles will commence four hours after the snow emergency is declared. The fine for Failure to Move Car to Proper Side of Street is $100, and Tow Zone/Obstructing Plow is $100. The towing charge is $106, with a daily storage fee of $35. If your vehicle is towed during a snow emergency, you should contact Pat’s Towing at 617-776-5810.
After a snow emergency, cars parked in municipal lots must be moved within two hours. Permit parking enforcement resumes 24 hours after the snow emergency has been lifted. Parking control officers are not authorized to remove snow from vehicles, so if the permit is not visible, the vehicle will be ticketed. Vehicles must be shoveled out within 48 hours of the snow emergency being lifted.
Note about “space savers”: Somerville has a zero-tolerance policy toward claiming spots by placing signs or objects in them. After snowstorms, you may see City crews driving around in trucks confiscating such objects. If you see a parking spot that someone has tried to “claim,” call 311 to report it.
Property owners are responsible for clearing their sidewalks and accessible ramps in front of their property, including the corner if located on a corner lot. For properties abutting sidewalks with curb cuts, ramps, or other access points, owners are responsible for shoveling proper pathways for access. Per state ADA requirements and City ordinance, sidewalks must be shoveled to a minimum of 36 inches wide to allow wheelchair passage.
Sidewalks must be cleared within six daylight hours after snow stops falling. Failure to comply with this ordinance will result in fines. If sidewalks abutting private property remain uncleared after 24 daylight hours from the end of the snow emergency, the City will make every effort to dispatch crews or contractors to the address for snow and ice removal. In order for the City to recover its costs for this snow and ice removal, additional fines will be assessed and charged via a lien placed on the property in question.
City inspectors regularly patrol the city following each snow event, tracking properties that do not comply with snow and ice removal ordinances. These properties are documented within City databases, and violations are issued. However, if you notice any sidewalk, ramp, or public access route that has not been cleared of snow and ice, you can call 311, email 311Updates@somervillema.gov, or report issues via Facebook or Twitter.
City Offers New Funds for Local Nonprofits
Somerville is offering new funding support for area nonprofits, leveraging funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The online program portal will be accepting applications until Feb. 3, 2023.
The first round of funding will provide $10 million in project support for 501(c)3 nonprofits serving Somerville. Only applications supporting specific projects or programs, and requesting $50,000 or more, will be accepted for consideration. Applications will be reviewed after the portal closes on Feb. 3, and recipients are expected to receive notice of funding in spring 2023.
“Somerville’s nonprofit organizations provide invaluable services and supports to the residents of our city but both the pandemic and ongoing need has increasingly stretched their resources. This needed funding will help local providers to both continue and expand their programming,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “I am so happy to share that ARPA funding is proving another avenue of growth for our nonprofit community.”
Somerville has been allocated $77,504,170 from ARPA to aid in local pandemic recovery efforts. Informed by input from nearly 2,000 survey responses, dozens of focus groups, two public forums, and a 14-member advisory committee, the City has been designating ARPA funds for a wide range of recovery purposes. To date, over $47 million of ARPA funding has been allocated to pandemic recovery efforts ranging from direct aid for households to critical infrastructure investments. Of those allocations, over $6.8 million has been granted to Somerville nonprofits to administer emergency pandemic-related relief programs. ARPA applicants must detail how their projects meet core values and funding priorities.
Interested nonprofits should review the ARPA website for more information and an application package.
City Offers New Funds for Small Businesses
Forgivable loans are available for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 via Somerville’s Small Business Recovery Program. The City has set up a $1.75 million fund to help brick-and-mortar businesses and home-based businesses still suffering from financial losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching impacts.
To qualify, businesses must be located in the city, have 20 or fewer full-time employees, and be able to demonstrate a decline in revenue during the past two years. Home-based businesses can apply online for up to $5,000 for net revenue loss, and businesses with a physical location can apply for up to $15,000 for net revenue loss.
Priority will be given to businesses that have not received funding from the City previously, have 10 or fewer full-time employees, are owned by members of disadvantaged populations, or are located in a HUD Qualified Census Tract.
Tobacco stores, cannabis stores, pawn shops, adult entertainment, and passive real estate investment businesses are not eligible.
This program is funded by the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development and managed by iParametrics, a loan management consulting firm hired by the City. The program will stay open until all funds have been allocated or until Jan. 31, 2023.
Photo credit: “Night Dogs. Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts, December 2022.” Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.
This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.
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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.