By Rosalie Tirella
… a tropical heat wave 🎶!
… In Worcester’s “historic” Blackstone River Road neighborhood, too!🌞🌞
My hot dogs🌭🌭😉 yesterday!:
Then … there are the crass folks who – when the sun dips just a smidgen and the neighborhood cools down just a few degrees – well, they just have to BLAST THEIR MUSIC FOR ALL OF BLACKSTONE RIVER ROAD TO HEAR – TO BE SUBJECTED TO!:
Blasting from the ‘hood! Their song goes: 🎶🎶MIRA! MIRA! MIRA! MIRA🎶🎶!🎶🎶!!
LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! LOOK!!!
We are looking!!!
And this is why Sally, owner of the florist’s two doors down, met with long-gone Worcester landlord/developer Paul Collyer 5 or 6! years ago to ask – HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS DUMP? – how can we bring in the money? And the money people? How can we (essentially) gentrify this neighborhood?
Never mind that Sally has her own slummy Blackstone River Road property, is money-grubbing (they say she basically stole the flower shop from kind old Herb – that she worked for him and bought it out from under him when he was ancient and very weak) and cares not a whit for the poor kids living in the dumps right across the street from her shop. Dumpy apartments seldom fixed by City-of-Worcester-regulation-flouting slumlords! She gives these landlords a pass cuz they are fellow money people.
Sally, what about the good parents here who are trying to do the right thing by their families?! What about the kids who bop down Blackstone River Road in the summer’s pale early morning light – walking to the QV elementary school right down the road – going to the school’s summer program?
Here’s Sally’s dumpy looking rental property… (she sold the right-hand side apartment to the welder next door, who did a great job fixing his half up! But look at her side of the building, her rental apartment to the left😢😢:
Sally’s rental property, left
Mira! Mira! Mira!
Look! Look! Look!
Attention must be paid!
Shame on Sally. Yet she considers herself a neighborhood leader$$$$ and sold her old Worcester fire station that she’s been sitting on for years … to contractors. Will they flip the grand old building once they redevelop it? Create expensive condos? Move in???
So this little neighborhood is next.
Thank you Blackstone Canal!
… and all the federal money the City of Worcester leverages for crap! Cosmetics for the ‘hood to attract millennials and money! City Leaders do not focus on the people already living here! They do NOT HELP THE PEOPLE in real, substantial ways – BUT DEVELOPERS LIKE SALLY.
Thank you, City Manager Ed Augustus, for turning Worcester into a new mini Boston – half rich, half really poor people. No working class/regular middle folks. Screw the worker bees and the working class! So what if one in four of Worcester kids is food insecure/hungry??? – the real indicator of the city’s poverty level. They and their families are all the people who will never eat or shop in the Canal District or care even a little bit about the Woo Sox. They’ll be struggling with urban noise, guns, opioids, homelessness, glue sniffers, lousy fathers, domestic abuse – you know, the problems our city leaders just play at but never really try to solve!
Now my neighborhood has:
🌭the new Blackstone Canal museum a two minute drive away!
🌭our streets and sidewalks are primed for newbies – painted and widened
🌭we now have bike lanes (hardly ever used), too …
We’ve STILL GOT THE POVERTY!
The trendy restaurants who open up across the street always go out of business cuz the neighborhood folks can’t support$$$ the eateries
We’ve still got the noise
the glue sniffing
the domestic violence
the police cruisers
and the ambulances tearing down Blackstone River Road, sirens blaring.
The City of Worcester is so self congratulatory these days! But the City of Worcester does not have UNIVERSAL PRE-K for our public school students OR FREE PUBLIC COLLEGE at Quinsigamond Community College or Worcester State University. The State of New York has this state-wide program! So does the City of Boston!!!
Nope. So Sally, one of the last Swedes in the city’s old Swedish neighborhood, and a senior citizen herself!, and her senior citizen allies are calling all the shots here! They have the city manager and city councilor’s ear.
Screw the future. The children. Little soldiers we’ll lose if they can’t read by grade 3! And city leaders know this …
Do we want developers and dismissive city leaders determining the fate of the neighborood? So much depends on the people living here! NOW! To do the right thing. To live right and demand things that should come to them: Go to Meade Street for tenants’ rights, go to the school committee meetings and demand Pre K, free community college (really high school part 2 in 2019) for your kids … because gentrification is coming this way. SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!
Right now it’s all happening in my old neighborhood, Green Island and the Kelley Square area. But after the Paw Sox move there, destroy that area with the city and state building them a new stadium in Kelley Square for practically FREE!, the money people will look a few streets down and move to Blackstone River Road. HERE. Sally and her ilk have been waiting and planning for this for years!!!
The new streets are here, the new museum has been built, the trails on McKeon Road have been cut into the small beautiful river forest, killing and displacing my beautiful deer, yearlings and brown-tailed hawks whose wing spans were wider than I am tall – 5’51/2″! With a slow, heavy whoosh whoosh they flew from the tree branches above me as Jett, Lilac and I trotted beneath their perch, quietly, fast, with blissed out respect!
That’s all gone now.
Did you know a pal of mine who owns and lives in his beloved three decker on Lafayette Street – MY BELOVED CHILDHOOD STREET!!! – got a knock on his first-floor front door a little while ago. It was a developer/money man/gentrifier. He said: I want to buy your house. How much $$$???
My friend said: GET THE HELL OFF MY PROPERTY!
Some people can’t be bought.
Some people can. My old landlord on Ward Street couldn’t handle the drug dealers and gun thugs in his three and two deckers, so he sold ’em – to a slumlord who raised everyone’s rent by hundreds of dollars because she knew they all were (except me – that’s how I ended up in Spencer!) all Section 8 tenants and that the federal government would foot the bill – pay the new higher rents.
This is why Trump got elected President of the United States😢! Working class resentment. Rightfully so in the eyes of many white working class (especially older men) folks!
And guess what? My old Ward Street downstairs neighbor, Mary Paradise, on Section 8, went below and beyond the usual scam! She actually rented out rooms in her big apartment, for $$$ under the table! She, thanks to the federal government, was a successful landlord! A federally subsidized small biz person!!! And she made a good chunk of cash FOR YEARS off her apartment. Vacationed for weeks in Florida every winter! While I and others worked our asses off to run our small businesses, hold jobs, … . I haven’t seen Mary’s car in the old Ward Street parking lot in a while – but her relatives’ vehicle. Mary may still hold the apartment – get the Section 8 subsidy – but live with her creepo boyfriend now – allowing her to RENT OUT her big flat for even more money$$$!!! Like it’s her property! The real landlord, like most, turns her head, looks away. She’s getting her rent money! A millennial millionaire!! The system IS SO BROKEN.
But Donald Trump is not the answer.
Democratic mayors and managers in cities all over America are the answer. And the selectmen in rural America. They must support the folks in their cities/small towns through TERRIFIC EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEIR YOUNG AND A LIVING WAGE FOR THEIR WORKERS. The factories and mills are gone. Forever. Educational opportunities and a living wage are a good place to start in places like Blackstone River Road.
Blackstone River Road