Tag Archives: casino

The Wyman-Gordon site is a sight!

By Rosalie Tirella

The old Wyman Gordon factory site. Once a testament to Worcester’s industrial muscle. Now a shadow of it and its city’s former, greater!, working-class self! Now it is ugly, dirty, closed off from the neighborhood – no longer economic life blood for the residents of the hood. It sits at the edge of the Canal District under-used, under-loved. You drive past it down Lamartine Street and your heart grows heavy …

Through the years, there have been plans and dreams for this Woo inner-city eyesore – some more mundane than others. Like the Wal-Mart that was maybe gonna go in (nope, said the company, not enough potential customers), a Price Chopper (ditto for the supermarket chain), etc.

The summer before last it really looked like a slots casino, hotel, spa, pub-style restaurant were all heading for the Wyman Gordon site. But then-City Manager Mike O’Brien and pals pushed for the hotel to be built downtown,  restaurant types felt uneasy about the casino’s pub taking business away, other folks wanted MILLIONS AND MILILIONS of dollars in mitigation funds – bribes, don’t you know. So Worcester, as usual, shot itself in the groin.

I myself was against the whole thing! But I reconsidered once neighborhood folks told me LOUD AND CLEAR that THEY REALLY WANTED – NEEDED! – ALL THE JOBS that the casino was going to create.

In hindsight, the classy, fun playground, with a concert venue!, that the casino guys proposed might have been a good thing. I know this for sure: All the jobs for the semi-skilled in the neighborhood and city would have been a GREAT THING!

Just getting some trees planted along Lamartine Street – this gal’s modest proposal for the WG site two summers ago! – proved to be too controversial!

So now we’ve got shit! The Wyman Gordon site is one big shit sandwich on Kelley Square, leading to the Historic Canal District.

Maybe it’s all the Halloween candy I wolfed down doing the talkin’ … but the Wyman Gordon site looks especially foreboding this time of year!

But today I have a new, INEXPENSIVE, INCLUSIVE, DOABLE, TEMPORARY SOLUTION to the problem:  an inner-city mini-park, with or without a dog park.

Let’s all work together to get some soil trucked into this now fairly cleaned up and detoxified brownfield! Let’s put in trees, bushes, flower gardens, benches, picnic tables, some art …

If the liability issue can get worked out, let’s fence in some greenery, bolt in some fuckin’ benches, install doggy poop bags dispensing machines and get a little urban dog park going! It may work! It would be away from tons of homes with homeowners who don’t want to live by a dog park. Away from all the anal naysayers who will NEVER allow a dog park to be constructed in Green Hill Park. (Let’s not kid ourselves!)

If Allen Fletcher can have his fake canal, the Canal District should – through volunteerism? and donations? – create a fake city park that can be disassembled once the Wyman Gordon folks sell the property, which will never happen because the owners  are demanding WAY TOO MUCH $$$$.

We’ve got stabbings, prostitution, murders, garbage dumping in/near the historic Canal District.  Maybe if the hood’s RESIDENTS get something they can truly feel part of, make their own, there would be more pride in the neighborhood coming from people who live here 24/7.

The real neighborhood.

The real neighborhood people who need a CVS, bank, supermarket, maybe even a health center or public library branch, in their neighborhood. The very  stuff the neighborhood’ s movers and shakers all have and take for granted.

Now that would be historic!

No slots parlor! It’s a five minute drive from …

By Rosalie Tirella

… my beloved neighborhood! My quiet, pretty, old timey Worcester neighborhood, Quinsigamond Village. Cars going to the slots parlor, which Rush Street Gaming is proposing to build next next door to the Blackstone Valley Shoppes on MCCRACKEN Road, are gonna zip by my three decker and the cute little single family homes. Yesterday, I laid out in my big backyard, with trees all around me, Greenwood Park across the street looking lush with its own trees heavy with dark, green leaves. I was reading Hemingway and thought to myself, Wonderful. I found myself lost in the nature Hemingway was describing, while ensconced in my own urban Paradise.

Why bring in noise pollution, traffic, air pollution, the lowest form of gambling to fuck up Hemingway? Why trash up a sweet little hood like my Quinsig Village just because Rush Street gaming wants to degrade our region? Why have them hurt my neighborhood’s mom and pop businesses? Heck, why even damage the businesses at the Blackstone shops? What will happen to the Apple Bees and other fast food type pubs that are part of this open air mall? The slots parlor will offer the same third tier grub. And if local gamblers (slots only pull in folks from the region) spend their money on slots will they have enough expendable income leftover to buy clothes and gadgets at the Blackstone Shoppes?

Shame on Senator Mike Moore for duping good, basic folks in a cute little Central Massachusetts town, Millbury. A town that used to be a mill town but is now attracting young yuppie couples with kids from the Boston area. People who did not move to Central Massachusetts for slots! They are folks who came here for the great homes at a relatively low price tag. They even came for the nature, for our many trees …. They too want to read Hemingway on their lawns in peace.

The traffic ob McCracken Road, already a nightmare when I make my way to the Shoppes, especially during the Christmas shopping season, will be BRUTAL. People will be driving through Quinsig Village, by my three decker in Greenwood Street. The gamblers will then zip through the cute little residential neighborhoods of Millbury.

Can you imagine former Senator Ed Augustus going for this garbage and noise and pollution and traffic , not to mention the gambling addictions that will hurt iindividuals and families. FAMILIES. CHILDREN.

This is all so heartbreaking.


Rush Street Gaming is not looking out for the city’s best interests

By Rosalie Tirella

So many people have come up with other creative uses for the Wyman Gordon site in Green Island. For years the people of Green Island have been clamoring for a supermarket for that site, a full service grocery store that offers its customers FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES, fresh fish, etc. Years ago, we had Supreme Market and Buellar Brothers Market and a fruit store – all on Millbury Street. Long gone. For these past four decades we’ve had freaking Honey Farms on Millbury Street. Canned Spam, canned crap, high prices. Depressing. And unhealthy for many Green Islanders who do not own cars and are forced to do their grocery shopping at a CONVENIENCE STORE.

Then there was a call for a bank branch and maybe a Walmart. Residents wanted a place to shop and, seeing Walmart is now in the grocery business, buy their groceries at a reasonable price.

Those Wyman Gordon dreams also bit the dust.

Now we have Rush Street Gaming breathing hot and heavy over the site. Slots dreams. What a pathetic joke to play on the people of Green Island, people who need the basic amenities – and have not gotten them.

Now here is my Wyman Gordon site dream. Piggy backing on Deb Cary’s idea, I am suggesting a SUPER FAMILY FUN PARK. A Whalom Park/Water Park/Miniature Golf/Batting Cages PLUS a family style restaurant for the site. A bonanza of fun for kids of all ages! A rollercoaster, The Scrambler, The Whip, Bumper Cars, The Spider, a haunted house, a lovely ephemeral Merry-go-round. Huge brightly colored water slides and spray park water flourishes, batting cages, fun wall climbing, game stands, concession stands, a sit down family restaurant. The Wyman Gordon site could accommodate all of this stuff. It would draw thousands of people from Worcester and Central MA and Metro West. Possibly even beyond ….

Great idea. Rush Street Gaming could build it – they are in the game biz after all, n’est ce pas?


The only reason Rush Street Gaming and the owner of the Wyman Gordon site are doing something with this mammoth brownfield is that with slots they make BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. With the super amusement park, they would make dough, BUT NOT ENOUGH. NOT THE KILLING THEY KNOW THEY WILL MAKE WITH SLOTS. THE GREEN ISLAND HOOD BE DAMNED. It is not about the people. Not about Worcester.

A friend of mine, a well-off friend, told me she and her hubby went gambling at Mohegan Sun. She lost the $500 her husband gave her to spend in about 10 minutes. He lost his $500 shortly after she did. He gave her some more dough to gamble away and she lost all that $$$ real fast, too.

That is what slots and gaming are made to do … Take a ton of your money real fast. The amount of cash slots will bring in, millions of dollars per slot machine, can never be equaled by the lowly amusement park cum water slides. That’s why Rush Street Gaming is here! To make billions of dollars, easily, quickly, consequences be damned. How quaint of us to think Rush would go for Merry-go-rounds and exercise for city kids!

Rush Street Gaming is bent on economic rape. And if the voters of Worcester approve their plans, we will be taking it up the ass, without wanting to, FOR DECADES.

Wow! What a lovely “site”! Rush Street Gaming plans to build a Walmart-like …

Photo: Our first chance to see their "vision."  A sea of asphalt parking lots filling Kelley Square with a small jumble of three buildings in the center. Since Rush habitually scales back from their initial "grand" proposals used to sell the public on projects, it was genuinely surprising just how underwhelming the vision presented was.

… building in the Canal District (on the Wyman Gordon site)! Look at their slots parlor site plan! Look at that ugly BIG BOX!

These billionaires aren’t dopes: they have hired the priciest, most-connected lawyers in the city to do their bidding. Lawyers with old Worcester money, blue blood roots and a ton of clout: Fletcher (Allen Fletcher’s older, more sedate brother), Tilton and Whipple.


– R. Tirella

To defeat Rush Street Gaming …

By Rosalie Tirella

Now is the time for:


Door to door education/outreach. Let folks know this is a big box Walmart type building filled with slot machines. Nothing more. I mean really nothing more if Allen Fletcher and the Canal District biz folks kill the two restaurants and spa slated to go there. This is not a full service casino, this gambling Walmart slated for the Wyman Gordon site. There is no attached hotel, shopping mall, concert venue a la Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods. Let’s not delude ourselves: The building will look like a Walmart – a big box store, with a few frilly flourishes. Cheap, low end. It won’t fool anyone.

Tell folks the truth about Rush Street Gaming and how they run their businesses, their other slots parlors. They are now pressuring their full time slots employees in other cities to ACCEPT BUYOUTS and ALL THE FULL TIME JOBS ARE BEING TURNED INTO PART-TIME JOBS.

The money, billions of dollars, Rush Street Gaming makes goes to Chicago, their headquarters. It does not get plowed back into the local economy, the way local small businesses put their earnings back into local economy. Remember: ALL THE STATE LOTTERY MONEY GOES BACK TO MA CITIES AND TOWNS. Not so with Rush Street Gaming.

The Rush reps we are meeting are SALESPEOPLE. They are not economic development experts. They do not care what happens to our city. They are salespeople, smooth talking and attractive, pushing their product, a slots parlor. To make billions of dollars.

They are betting on Woo’s desperateness. They know our factories are gone. They know we aren’t a Boston or Providence. That there are major gaps in our employment picture They have done their research and see: RUBES. We may think we can out-negotiate them, but we lose IF WE GET A SLOTS PARLOR. Even if we get a fake canal, some part time jobs, etc we still LOSE.

Worcester is a big family town. We don’t do adult entertainment. We do soccer, little league, church, schools … . NOT SLOTS.

Mailings need to go out to every Woo household! Mailings that detail how stupid slots are for Woo. Show folks the truth.

PUSH FOR A $10,000 ADVERTISING LIMIT FOR GAMING GUYS. Otherwise, they will plow hundreds of thousands of dollars into a gambling advertising blitz. Stop their bull shit advertising campaign in its tracks.

Have meetins in churches, schools, halls of all sorts to Stop Slots.

Let’s have all the factions who have said no MOBILIZE THEIR PEOPLE. Sarai Rivera and Mary Keefe – inner city folks/Latinos. Father Madden – the Catholics in town. Harriet Chandler – the Jewish community, etc.

InCity Times will continue to urge Worcesterites TO VOTE NO SLOTS. In the paper and on this website.

The battle has begun. We cannot let up for one second – until AFTER THE REFERENDUM HAS BEEN HELD

THIS JUST IN! Wyman Gordon site: worst possible site for slots parlor

By Edith Morgan

I am a “Johnny-come-lately” to this discussion of the locating of the slots  at the Wyman-Gordon site.

I have to confess that I believe that this site is the worst possible site for such a business. We have all heard the arguments about the evils of gambling, the encouragement of a deadly habit on the part of those who can ill afford it, and the concomitant crime and degradation which often accompany the establishment of such a facility.  We have also heard the argument that it will bring some quick cash into the city, at a time when it is badly needed. And it will put something in the place of an unused, polluted ugly piece of property.

But let us look carefully at this location: have you all ever driven through Kelly Square, even when it is not rush hour? Many of us have gotten through there on a wing and a prayer, to get to I290, or the Senior Center, the Girls’ Club, or Worcester Academy. I know there are plans to reconfigure this area, but even if traffic is improved, there are so many destinations in that part of our city that will still have to be accessed by that route, that adding traffic from a facility whose sole purpose is to pull coins out of the pockets of visitors is not adding to the improvement of this area.

There HAVE to be better uses of that piece of property: Deb Cary of Mass Audubon has suggested several. And I am sure that the many citizens working on the Canal district projects and the improvements of Green Street’s business improvements have ideas.  Do we really have to sacrifice the Green Island area for a short-term gain of some dubious tax money? Worcester has always been known  as a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive style. Green Island may not be rich in cash, but it is home to much history and ethnic diversity. The present bad times, brought on by the injudicious ( and sometimes even criminal) investment of banks and other greedy entities, cannot last forever, though it should have been over some time ago. 

Let us take the longer view, and not be for sale to the first, or highest bidder. We ought to have learned something from the destruction wrought by the way I290 was allowed to slice right through the city without regard to neighborhoods and businesses, killing the heart of the city, just to get through it fast…

I have been to Foxwoods and Mohegan – both are located way out in the country, away from population centers. They include eating places, hotels, and shopping malls, and are not connected  to the surrounding towns. Both are full-service gambling establishments, offering live entertainment as well as many different kinds of games, not just slot machines… They are basically separate countries, with their own police forces, small Indian nations sitting in the midst of the State of Connecticut. What we are being offered  is a pure and simple mass of slot machines, offering nothing more than just an opportunity to lose money .

Do we really want to sell out our city for such a short gain , sacrifice this area because we have not the foresight to see what this will do to Green Island? Are we really so greedy for some quick tax dollars that we can not see beyond the immediate future? Does money really trump all other values now? And is this the best that our city , the cradle of so much creativity and independent thought, can come up with for this property?


BE THERE (with yer pitch-forks!)! (and a song)

Slots parlor developers to detail plans at Worcester City Council (joint subcommittee) meeting Wednesday, 7 p.m., City Hall, Main Street. BE THERE!  … And a Jackson Browne song because the people of Worcester are more than Happy Idiots Struggling for The Legal Tender! – R. T.


Once again:

Is Worcester so desperate for revenue …

By Rosalie Tirella

… that it needs a slots parlor to fleece the region’s poorest folks?

Are we Holyoke or Springfield, dying cities, cities where slots are deemed civic saviors?

Are we a city without several colleges, several hospitals, a major teaching hospital, bio engineering parks?

Are we a city whose downtown lacks all hope, investors, developers, plans, etc?

Are we a city of fast folks, people looking to make a fast buck without fear of gaming’s social, economic and psychological repercussions?

Are we a city that does not value its city scape, the way the city feels as you drive, bike or walk through it?

Do we have city councilors and a city manager who disrespect Woo citizens, especially our most vulnerable folks?


Worcester is a little pinched around the edges, but otherwise a grand town. A thriving city filled with good people, lovely parks, solid public schools, good colleges, hospitals, museums, restaurants, fairs and cultural events. The region’s economy is solid, thriving.



Let’s not tart up and degrade our urban grand dame. I like her slow and steady conservative, sometimes too conservative, style. It means we don’t do rash, stupid things very often.




You can see why Rush Street Gaming …

By Rosalie Tirella

… has a vise-grip hold on the minds and souls of so many on the Worcester City Council: jobs, tax revenue, cool new downtown hotel built for the city for free, restaurants, luxury spa etc.

But I believe what really attracts a good, progressive Worcester city councilor like Joe O’Brien to this passel of goodies is … GOOD-PAYING JOBS FOR THE CITY’S UNSKILLED WORKERS. A paycheck with health benefits, a paycheck that is NOT A MCJOBS PAYCHECK. A paycheck out of poverty. A paycheck that will enable the working poor and working class to pay the bills and then some.

This is so important! So many of Wusta’s peeps struggle, so many are on Food Stamps, so many live tuff/mean lives. A generation ago, and I count many of my first-generation European immigrant relatives among that generation, these folks would have found good paying jobs in Worcester’s scores of factories – what must have felt like several in each of our blue collar neighborhoods. A hard but sure-fire way up the ladder to middle class life.

Now the factories no longer thrum with activity. Yet there are thousands of unskilled workers in the city who need jobs.

The casino package would bring jobs, opportunities, to Wusta’s ‘factory’ peeps. This, I believe, is why City Councilor Joe O’Brien has not taken a public stand against the slots parlor. Especially if workers are union workers. Union gaming job salaries hover around the 40 K plus benefits level. A solid factory job paycheck.

Question: If we say NO to slots, can we provide all the folks who did not have the good fortune to attend college with a good paying job? Can we get the good but untrained kid a job which allows him to own a car or start saving money for a down payment on a house or condo?

The global economy has been brutal for America’s unskilled workers. Maybe folks like Joe O’Brien, good progressive city councilors, feel gaming, if tightly controlled, will ultimately help city workers who for so long have been looking at $8 an hour paychecks.

Facing the horrific … momentum for the gambling package may be building. What we need to do.

By Rosalie Tirella

We, the folks against the slots parlor in Green Island, must continue to write, speak and protest against city officials’ committing environmental injustice. Dumping the lowest form and exploitative economic ‘development’ on Green Island. But we have to face the facts: City officials, and most likely, the majority of the city council members, are FOR THIS TRAVESTY.

They are for it, and will vote to authorize the city manager to negotiate a host aggreement with Rush gaming. They already got what they really wanted – the luxury hotel, casino and nice restaurants DOWNTOWN, AWAY FROM THE SLOTS PARLOR. This is what was proposed early on, and if you remember Mayor Petty was livid over the proposal, wanted to seize the Wyman Gordon site under eminent domain. He said the proposed gambling package for Wyman Gordon would HARM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN Worcester. So, behind closed doors, the plans changed. City officials and biz leaders got the gaming guys to say Ok, we will sprinkle the goodies downtown (hotel, restaurants, casino) and leave the crap slots parlor at the Wyman Gordon site. Let Green Island suffer more injustices.

We voters will merely have a chance to rubber-stamp Mayor Petty’s and CM O’Brien’s economic development vision come referendum time. Do not kid yourself, this proposal make it to the voters. City leaders want this. They are just too cowardly, except for Konnie Lukes, to fess up.

Who wants to be seen publicly embracing 1,200 slot machines that take credit and debit cards for Wusta’s most vulnerable hood?

Not our city councilors!

City officials are saying yes to slots cuz they are desperate for economic development downtown. AND the entire gaming package will mean, most likely,  lots of new tax dollars for Wusta, year after year. A new hotel built for free for the city by Rush.   Jobs for low skilled workers. Many permanent.

If we want to ease some of the pain for Green Island/Wusta’s poor residents, then we should demand the following:

That all jobs at the slots parlor, hotel, casino etc be awarded to folks who live within a HALF MILE OF THE DEVELOPMENT. NOT THE CITY OF WORCESTER, BUT THE WUSTA FOLKS WHO LIVE CLOSEST TO THE FACILITIES. These people will be impacted most severely. Traffic, crime, noise, etc.

The people who live nearest the slots parlor are, for the most part, low-skilled workwrs. Not stupid. Just not connected. Not wealthy. Not even middle class. Many never had the money or opportunity to go to college. THEY ARE THE PEOPLE WE MUST FIGHT FOR. THEY ARE THE FOLKS WHO YEARS AGO WOULD BE WORKING IN OUR FACTORIES. Now let them at least work in the casino industry – FOR UNION WAGES. NO LESS.

City leaders have been too lazy and stupid to recruit light industry to our city. The gambling  industry is offering them an easy way out.

They will take the easy way out.

At the very least, we should push for GOOD JOBS/GOOD WAGES for the people most impacted by living next to this unholy mess.

Our Worcester City Council – the cowards

This just in! A press release from the Mayor’s office. A slap in the face to the good people who want the city council to REJECT a host agreement/tell the gaming guys to LEAVE WUSTA! Immediately! We do not have to agree to a host agreement. The city council can direct the city manager to tell the gambling guys: This city is not interested in slots. This city is not interested in environmental injustice. This city will not exploit the area’s poorest folks. GO AWAY.

But they are doing the opposite! Our city leaders are too lazy to do real economic development, too lazy to go to cities that are luring light industry to their municipalities and to pick these cities’ leaders brains so Wusta leaders can also lure good paying jobs to Wusta –  for its low skilled folks, folks who need a leg up – not a slot machine addiction.  We need leaders to hire a crack economic development team to go out and RECRUIT LIGHT INDUSTRY to Worcester and think outside the box. Let’s do economic development right! Let’s not grab at this deal with the devil because our downtown is a ghost town and we are desperate.

No slots parlor for the Wyman Gordon site!!!

AND: Let’s remember this new  political nadir during election time. Let’s remember that no city councilor – except for Konnie Lukes – made his/her opinion public. The biggest piece of economic development to come down the pike in years – and not a peep from our elected officials, people who we vote into office to represent our best interests, people who will gas on and on and on about food trucks. People who bloviate over pit bulls. BUT HAVE NOTHING TO SAY about this mammoth project.

Here’s the mayor, trying to big foot the anti-slots crowd. I have made some sentences bold.   – R. Tirella


Last night a motion was made on the floor of the City Council, “That the City Council of the City of Worcester in accordance with state law, does herby authorize the City Manager to negotiate a community host agreement with the intention of placing this document before the people of this community so that they may exercise their right to be educated and to vote on this all important topic.”

This order is endorsed by: Mayor Petty, Councilor Economou, Councilor Eddy, Councilor Germain, Councilor O’Brien, Councilor Palmieri, Councilor Rivera, Councilor Rushton, Councilor Russell, Councilor Toomey.

This order is not an endorsement by the council of the proposed slot parlor. This order is to request the City Manager to negotiate the best host agreement on behalf of the residents.

It is not our purview to decide if gaming is right or wrong or should or shouldn’t happen. Gaming is coming to Massachusetts – that is a fact. What is our purview is to make sure the developers who have selected Worcester as their preferred location have a full understanding of our community.

This decision will not be one forced down upon anyone. Nor will it be without significant public participation and nor will it be anyone but the voters who ultimately decide if we have a slot parlor in the City.

What we pledge to you is that we will fight for the best agreement we can get. We pledge we will make sure every voter in the City ofWorcester has the accurate information to make an informed decision at the polls.

Joseph M. Petty