City Manager Mike O’Brien and the Ice Oval fiasco

Ice_skating : People ice skating

By Rosalie Tirella

Drove into Providence, RI, today. What a beautiful little city! What a happening downtown! What a nice cosmopolitan vibe!

The ride into downtown Worcester a few hours later made me cringe: Not because of its looks (well, yeah, because of its looks compared to Providence’s) but TODAY, especially, because of the ICE OVAL FIASCO. And it is a fiasco!

You would think that the public outcry re: City Manager Mike O’Brien’s fool hardy decision to charge poor kids $2 to skate on the ice, $3 to rent skates, $ for hot cocoa and other refreshments would have stopped him cold – make him realize: HEY, there should be no admission fee! Everyone should skate for free! That’s the way the people of Worcester want it to be! I am not their king! I am their city manager – a bureaucrat – who serves at the pleasure of the Worcester City Council. A guy who takes his orders from city council, which takes its orders from Worcesterites.

But no!

A cheap skate, my-way-or-the-highway mentality rises from the depths of Mr. O’Brien’s hollow hollow soul. So even in the middle of a dead zone like our downtown, Worcester families need to pony up some serious bucks (if there are a lot of kids and the family is working class).

O’Brien is wrong to think any municipal give away is to admit to being hustled by the hoi polloi. He is putting the brakes on something even before it gets started. And right now we could really see something STARTING on our common.

The recent announcement that kids 10 and under get in free to skate does not make me feel better. More bull shit from O’Brien. We talk about how we want to reach our teens – make them feel part of the city. Well, if you are a poor teen forget about it.

Something to think about, CM Mike O’Brien: Did you know that every Christmas Toys for Tots has to beg for some donations, such as Christmas presents geared for tweens and teens? Seems like everyone wants to donate toys and fun stuff for little kids, but no one remembers the teens. You know which foster kids are hardest to place, CM O’Brien? Teens. Everyone wants a cute little kid. No one wants a cute big kid.

Thanks, City Manager Mike O’Brien, for sending out that same old heartless message to our young people. A few days ago, I saw a homeless teen (maybe 12 or 13??) at a local Price Chopper. He looked so forlorn. So lost. So hungry. We have lots of homeless teens here in our city.

Why make things harder?

What about the country’s obese/over weight kids? We’ve got ’em here in Worcester, all right. Wouldn’t it have been nice if our teens could have EXERCISED – skated – on the city’s ice rink for free. God knows kids need to start moving. City Manager Mike O’Brien, you could have helped make that happen.

And, after Providence, I have to think: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! O’Brien is gonna charge kids and families money to come down to bring much needed life to this dump that we like to think is our center city/downtown? At this point, the city needs as many people as it can get to spend time downtown. To charge $$$ to skate in the middle of dumpsville is insane.

JUST INVITE EVERYONE for free, OK Mike? Why get anal with teens? Why get anal right before the holidays?

Bureaucrats never have vision.

Strong mayors do.

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