Editor’s Note: The Newton Beacon is a nonpartisan news organization interviewing all candidates running in the upcoming municipal election. Profile pieces are not endorsements.
Maria Greenberg has served on the Newton City Council since 2017, and she’s running this year for a fourth term, unopposed.
Greenberg has lived in Newton since 1992 and in Nonantum since 1999, and when she is not in the City Council chambers, she can be found serving local residents in a different way—as a cardiac sonographer at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
One of her key issues of focus is parks and green space. She is hoping to see a community garden at Spears Park, at Walnut Park and Washington Street, on an empty piece of land the city owns.
“The mayor reached out,” Greenberg said, with a proposal to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds Newton received to pay for it. Newton received 63.5 million dollars from this federal act intended to help communities recover from COVID-19 related economic losses. The proposed community garden would have 30 plots for individual residents to cultivate. The most recent design, presented in November 2022, would also include picnic tables and benches.
Greenberg is also excited about the $125,000 that has been set aside for Pellegrini Park, and she would like to see improvements to the field house and murals. This park is the site of the annual St. Mary of Carmen Festival in July, which draws in over ten thousand people every year from Nonantum and around the community to celebrate Italian-American heritage.
Greenberg is the daughter of Italian immigrants and is a strong supporter of Nonantum’s cultural heritage. Another important park to her is Farlow Park. This was the first ever park in Newton and is listed on the National Historic Register. She is proud of having helped with the work to redo the pond and bridge, and for being able to get Community Preservation Act funds to restore Grace Church’s tower.
“I’m working with MassDOT to make improvements to the Newton Corner rotary for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians,” she said about the notoriously bad intersection. She has advocated for crosswalks and bike lanes in the Hunnewell Hill neighborhood.
She’s a strong supporter of the new Lincoln-Eliot school. Demolition is expected to begin this fall, with the new building open for the 2025-2026 school year. She is also happy to announce the Horace Mann School is back on track to be renovated. The current plan is for a complete design to be done by the end of 2024, with construction starting in the winter of 2025 and be completed by fall 2026.
When asked about the proposed Village Center Overlay District, she said, “I’m very excited for this proposal. I think in the end we will have a good ordinance that will help address the housing issues, support local businesses, and fight climate change.
“I’d like to see more housing built,” she continued. “Nonantum is already a lively village center, but people looking for starter homes, young professionals, and people looking to downsize need options.”
Greenberg has advocated for numerous affordable housing developments before, such as Haywood House, the Riverdale 40B project, West Newton Armory, Northland and Riverside. Maria is particularly concerned with ensuring that seniors can stay in the community they’ve spent decades in.
Greenberg has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, Newton Gun Violence Prevention Collaborative, Newton Housing Advocates, Voters for a Vibrant Newton, Progressive Newton, and the Newton Teachers Association.
Newton’s election will be Nov. 7, with early voting starting on Oct. 28.