Forecast: July 2010

The month in preview.

RENOVATIONS
7/13 EXTREMELY (UNLIKELY) MAKEOVER

The Christian Science Church’s plans to spruce up its Back Bay plaza – more greenery, smaller reflecting pool – could hit a roadblock today, as the Boston Landmarks Commission holds a public forum on designating the 14.5-acre campus a historical site. The more preservationist voices make themselves heard, the more likely the indomitable spirit of Mary Baker Eddy will have to contend with the whims of city architects.

7/2 The National Organization for Women’s conference kicks off at the Park Plaza, featuring speeches from Representative Niki Tsongas and Wellesley College prez Kim Bottomly. now.org.

7/3 Tonight’s dress rehearsal for the Boston Pops’ annual Fourth of July spectacular promises the same music, but a more laid-back atmosphere (and a little more breathing room!) than tomorrow’s blowout. july4th.org.

POLITICS
7/1 GREEN HOUSE EFFECT

The "stretch code" becomes mandatory today for Cambridge and Newton. The new building code, which other cities and towns can voluntarily adopt, requires all new construction to conform to stricter energy-efficiency standards, and promises up to a 20 percent increase in efficiency in new commercial buildings and up to a 35 percent increase in residential ones.
Of course, the task of making a structure energy efficient doesn’t come cheap. The state estimates it will cost $8,100 to bring a single-family home into compliance. Not surprisingly, sellers argue that they’ll need to pass the extra expense on to buyers, which could make the region’s already pricey real estate even more costly. The Home Builders Association of Massachusetts, which is taking a stand against the rules, went as far as publishing a list of talking points to help allies foment rebellion at various town hall meetings.
So why are places from Northampton to Worcester still signing on to follow the lead of Cambridge and Newton? Credit a different kind of green. Thanks to Governor Deval Patrick’s "Green Communities" plan, towns are eligible for a chunk of $10 million in state funds if they adopt a series of "green" zoning, permitting, and energy-usage policies, including implementing the stretch code.

MONEY
7/2 WHAT CREDIT CRUNCH?

Applications are due today for tax incentives from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the quasi-public agency that last year doled out $24.5 million to local biotech companies. This year promises to be even more lucrative for the local healthcare/life sciences startups, which collected $430 million worth of research funding (and that was just through April). Which raises the question: Why, exactly, do they still need tax incentives?

EXPERT KNOWLEDGE: AN ETHICAL QUANDARY

FOOTBALL

7/3 LADY PATRIOT GAMES
The medal rounds of the women’s full-tackle football league world championships kick off in Stockholm, Sweden, today. Three Bay Staters have earned their place on the first-ever U.S. national team’s roster: running back Mia Brickhouse of Revere, linebacker Molly Goodwin of Brookline, and offensive tackle Kelly Barker of Dorchester. They’re all teammates on the local pro squad, the Boston Militia.

7/5 Chowderfest, the annual soup competition that’s part of Boston Harbor-fest, crowns its 29th champion. bostonharborfest.com.