Ice skating on the Worcester Common ice oval … $25 per pair of skates …

By Rosalie Tirella

… rental fee, if you don’t have a major credit card to go with the $3 rental fee

$2 per person – admission fee to this public space

Imagine being a poor family of, let’s say, five: a mom and a dad and three kids, 10, 12, 7 years old, and two of you don’t own skates, and you don’t have a credit card or your major credit card is tapped out. A day on the Worcester Common, public land, will cost you. And if you don’t have the dough, tough luck. You’re not allowed on public space.

Thank you, former Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien!! The ice oval was O’Brien’s baby – he didn’t ask the community for any input – and so was the Ebenezer Scrooge price policy. O’Brien was not at all sensitive to poor folks and their struggles. He created this ice oval admission policy with his typical arrogance and rammed it down our throats. Yep. Create an ice rink on public land, in the middle of an impoverished city neighborhood, and charge $$$$. His line was: People will see its worth ONLY if they have to pay for the PRIVILEGE to skate on it.  What bull shit. O’Brien’s arrogance turned lots of human service workers and neighborhood activists against him. At the end of his Woo stint, Mike O’Brien stopped serving the PEOPLE of Worcester, a GATEWAY CITY, and got stuck doing somersaults inside the pockets of local biz folks.

We and others in the community railed against his insensitivity (remember how he lied to us all about keeping our neighborhood swimming pools open?) … boo boo boo we repeated over and over again. Then came the feds …HUD investigated Worcester and found O’Brien’s office wasn’t minding the store … . His people weren’t keeping track of how fed monies were being spent. So O’Brien  left, looking haggard, gray and peeved. Near the end he told me his job  had aged him in dog years.

Woof! Woof! You have no one to blame but your micro-managing self, Mikey!

NOW THAT WE HAVE A NEW, SENSITIVE, CARING, CITY MANAGER – ED AUGUSTUS – WHO PUBLICLY  SAID POOR KIDS BREAK HIS HEART, A GUY WHO WORKED FOR THE CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND …we expect MORE. WE EXPECT HEART.

We expect him to nullify ALL ICE OVAL ADMISSION FEES AND MAKE FREE SKATES AVAILABLE TO POOR KIDS.

Augustus is making almost $200,000 a year! A single guy. No kids, no college funds, no big headaches …  It is tough to relate to people on the edge when you are so lucky and privileged. Here’s hoping Ed Augustus can empathize and rise to the occasion!

FREE THE WORCESTER ICE OVAL, Ed!

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Here’s the official Ice Oval admission policy  and rental fees from the CITY OF WORCESTER:

Admission for public skating is $2, children 6 and under skate free.

“Skate Rentals .During public skating hours at the Worcester Common Oval, ice skate rentals will be available for $3.

“Planning to rent skates? Save time by printing the attached form below and completing the application in advance. Remember you will need a MA driver’s license or a MA state identification, PLUS a major credit card in order to rent skates. If you don’t have a credit card, a $25 fully refundable cash deposit is required for each pair of skates rented.

“OVAL-SKATE-RENTAL-APPLICATION-Final.pdf OVAL-SKATE-RENTAL-APPLICATION-Final.pdf”

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Pathetic.