Tag Archives: revitalizing downtown Worcester

We’re getting $$ to repave our Main Street/spiff it up, but in the meantime why not have our DPW guys/gals haul out a couple of buckets of yellow and white paint?

Text/pics by Rosalie Tirella

Worcester City Hall, the seat of our government, a stately edifice where city leaders often lead by the seats of their pants! No more apparent than here, out on Main Street, right before City Hall’s entrance…The thoroughfare is cracked, patched; its crosswalks and yellow lines faded and useless. It’s as if we say, as a city, to visitors: Come on in! See our street? We don’t give a shit! Walk or drive here at your peril!

Is it any wonder that over the years people have chosen to:

Shoot up at Worcester City Hall?

Have shoot-outs in front of Worcester City Hall?

Shoot each other over the heroin to shoot up at City Hall?

Why is this?

In part, it’s because the chunk of Main Street facing City Hall and pieces of Franklin Street to the side of the building are so run down, so neglected, so uninspiring, so spirit deflating that gun shots and mayhem come a courtin’.

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And right around the corner from City Hall’s front doors, this:

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And this:

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Now look at another, much less impressive burg, only 1/2 hour away:

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Worcester is so much more diverse, colorful, educated, fun … and zippy!

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I want to – we all want to – go downtown! Be like other citizens in other cities! Be a part of the pageant! … But so much needs to be done in Main Middle before so many of us get out of our cars and hit the (main) street!

Rose parked in A.I. … Out and about today … impressed with Hudson’s …

… and Marlboro’s downtowns.

Flowers, flags, adorable small businesses, smooth street, crisply painted yellow crosswalks, cones in the crosswalks reminding drivers to SLOW DOWN (pedestrian-embracing), flower beds everywhere, public art, SUPER CLEAN (no dumped garbage!) … steal these ideas, Worcester Downtown boosters! Make our Main Street sparkle!

P.S. Years ago I worked in Marlboro part-time – and drove through Hudson often. Kinda dumpy. These burgs have really come along way, blossomed with biz. However, I’ve got to say: Marlboro looks over-developed. Too many chain everything! I miss all the open green space there … It’s like Marlboro planners are developer-whores: They say YES to every Applebees, Walgreens, tire joint and strip mall! Way too much!

text/pics: Rosalie Tirella

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Downtown: WCCA TV is Getting a Newly Painted Façade!

A Transformation is in the Future!

Worcester Community Cable Access, Inc. (WCCA TV) is soon going to have a nicer looking facade.  On the week of September 14th, with generous funding support from The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, WCCA TV will have the current façade concrete “accents” painted a greyish color with the letters WCCA TV placed across them.

Time has worn the paint of the old concrete “accents” that many people driving in downtown Worcester, through many years, have used as a landmark for directions.  When this paint job is completed, the “accents” will still be there, but we hope they will be more pleasing to the eye of the beholder, and they will be a means to help identify WCCA TV when drivers and pedestrians are in the vicinity.

The building at 415 Main Street was originally built in 1890 as a bank, and it went through significant changes in 1974 and a serious renovation in 1998 in order to accommodate WCCA TV and its move downtown.  Since 1998, little of the building has changed at the WCCA TV facility.  One thing that has changed is the slow weathering and deterioration of the façade.  In 2014, it was necessary to make minor repairs and to have sidewalk scaffolding for the safety of pedestrians. These repairs were completed.

Currently, WCCA TV is performing a feasibility study on how to address needed upgrades and renovations to enhance the WCCA TV facility and downtown presence as well as improve conditions to better meet community media needs. The feasibility study has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the State of Massachusetts administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as generous matching funds by the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation.

What is clear to the architects, engineers, and leadership at WCCA TV is that the transformation of the building must and will be more than simply the renovation of a building for appearances; it will be a development that may change the social, cultural, and commercial dynamics of this part of Worcester. 

The results of this study are almost completed, and the planning process for how to raise the funds and implement the renovations has already begun. 

It won’t be long before WCCA TV announces the new plans for what is being called, the WCCA TV iSMARTT Center (in-Studio Media Arts Resources Technology and Training Center), and the community members of Worcester will be able to see the vision behind this project.

In the meantime, people will be able to see a better looking building façade by the end of September (The feasibility study has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the State of Massachusetts administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as generous matching funds by the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation).

Took this photo today, while driving in downtown Worcester, on Main Street, by the building next to the Registry of Motor Vehicles

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“And how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?”

– Bob Dylan

He was in pristine yellow socks!, scrubs and had a clear plastic cap on – as if he had just been released from the ICU of a hospital. Just lying there, skeletal, in downtown Worcester, when he should have been lying in a hospital bed.

The poor, the homeless, the hopeless, the downtrodden – they will always be with Worcester, as they are always with any city, even the small ones, even the great ones.  Often it’s the most successful neighborhoods of a metropolis that attract the homeless: they can ask for money from the well heeled, they can hope the fancy restaurant has leftovers to give them – or an accessible dumpster.

Driving by and seeing what I saw this afternoon is part of living/working/playing in any city. It’s how the city treats the folks on its periphery that tells you EVERYTHING about that city.

Boston’s late, great Mayor Tom Menino went out every winter, during the coldest nights, pre-blizzard with city outreach workers into the streets of Boston – his home – to give blankets to the homeless people who, for whatever reasons, refused to seek shelter even though the snow would soon be piling up all around them. He did not bitch about the de-institutionalization of these folks or that group and how they adversely affected this strip of stores or that urban hot spot. He just reached out to them, sometimes under bridges, and gave them blankets, food and maybe shook their hands, said some nice things, comforting words that made them feel WARM, human again. Sure, it was a great photo opp, but I believe Menino still would have gone out without the TV reporters and photographers in tow.

 On those brutal New England winter nights Tom Menino sent out a powerful message: The City of Boston cares about all its denizens. EVERYONE, no matter how lost, how tired, how forsaken, how destitute COUNTS in Boston. No one is surplus, superfluous, unwanted. EVERYONE belongs. 

That’s the best part of living in any city! EVERYONE BELONGS.

Worcester officials have yet to embrace Worceter in this deep way! This says a lot about them and us, Worcester. City living thrusts brutal reality right in front of our noses every minute of the day! How do we choose to respond? How do I, Rosalie, choose to respond? This, is what keeps me in the city. Not the fancy drinks or stores with pretty items – you can find that anywhere, in any town, any suburb. Quaint, fun but, I don’t know, not the stuff I’m interested in!

“HOW MANY EARS MUST ONE MAN HAVE BEFORE HE CAN HEAR PEOPLE CRY?”  – Bob Dylan

The answer, my friend, is STILL blowing in the wind!

Text + pic – Rosalie Tirella