Official proposes ‘NU neighborhood council’

January 11, 2013
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A Northeastern University (NU) official has floated the idea of creating an “NU neighborhood council” where representatives from local neighborhoods and the university would converge to discuss their relationship and any issues.

“I don’t know anything bad that comes from having people in a room talking,” said John Tobin, NU’s vice president of city and community affairs, in a recent Gazette interview.

He first mentioned the idea during the Dec. 20 NU Task Force meeting. The City-appointed Task Force holds an advisory position in developing the university’s Institutional Master Plan (IMP), which is a comprehensive development plan that describes an institution’s existing facilities, long-range planning goals and proposed projects. NU just completed its latest IMP.

Tobin noted that the Task Force members serve a 10-year term, during which some members move away or die. He said the neighborhood council could meet on a monthly or quarterly basis and would keep people engaged. Tobin said the council would have representatives from Mission Hill, Lower Roxbury, Roxbury, South End and the Fenway.

Tobin, who is a former Boston City Councilor and has described himself as the “city councilor for Northeastern,” said he wants to take up creating the council in the spring as the current IMP process winds down.

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