Tag Archives: Crompton Park

Crompton Park pool looks fab, but …

By Maureen Schwab

Following what was a particularly cold and snowy winter, the warm days of summer are finally here. For the residents of Green Island, and for the many basketball and softball players from throughout the city, summer means heading down to Crompton Park.

On a recent weekday evening, as I strolled through the park at early evening, I was delighted to see three softball games in progress, neighborhood children playing soccer on the tennis courts, and basketball on Cousey court. I was not so delighted to see, however, the sorry sight of many children playing on a dilapidated play structure, and the sorriest sight of all; one lousy broken swing hanging by its solo chain, looking much like a torture device you would find in the Tower of London.

At one time, Crompton Park had a bank of high flying swings at the Endicott St. playground. The baby swings were over on the corner of Canton Street. The swings at Crompton Park have been gone for at least two years. How did we loose our swings, the corner stone of every playground I have ever visited? Why is this being overlooked by the Parks Dept?

I have participated in several park walk-throughs with several different city councilors in the past five years. Residents made requests for change, politicians said they would see what can be done, and nothing had ever really changed in the past years, except for further deterioration of playground equipment at Crompton Park.

All of the city pools were all closed last summer, and in a high stakes, winner takes all game of which neighborhood gets the one city pool, Green Island and Crompton Park won. A $2.5 million pool was approved in Sept. 2009, and will be open to the public July 1, 2011. In the process of building the pool, a play structure was removed, and an empty lot now sits in its place. .

In a series of three meetings held last fall by the Park and Rec Commission, the residents of Green Island had the opportunity to tell representatives of Weston and Sampson what hey would like Crompton Park to look like and include if a makeover for the park were possible.

Following the three meetings, a front page story appeared in the paper. In bold print it stated” MAKEOVER PLANNED …$6.3M slated for Crompton Park” Really? I thought to myself, this is great! As I read through the article, my happy feeling started to disappear, Mr. Antonelli, assistant commissioner of public works and parks is quoted as saying” we will have to find money to fund this project. The only project that will be funded is a new playground that is expected to be completed this summer (2011)”. This structure will be located at the corner of Harding and Canton streets.

A legal notice appeared on 6/17/11, asking for bids to install playground equipment, safety surfacing, fencing and appearances at Crompton Park. The cost of this project is estimated at $175,000. When the new structure goes up, the playground on Endicott Street will come down. How soon this will happen remains to be seen. In the mean time, children will continue to come to Crompton Park to play on dilapidated equipment and perhaps wish for a ride on a swing that may of may not ever appear.

Green Islanders out of the loop (and pissed about it!), re: the building of new WRTA garage across from Crompton Park

By Maureen Schwab

I am writing regarding the April 21 press conference, announcing plans for the Worcester Regional Trasnsit Authority (WRTA) to move operations from Grove Street to the empty NSTAR lot on Quinsigamond Ave., across from Crompton Park.

I am a resident of Green Island, and live across the street from Crompton Park. So naturally, I am very interested in any development that may impact my neighborhood and, more importantly, the use of our beloved Crompton Park.

This move, according to District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller was a “done deal” before anyone in the neighborhood had a chance to review the plan and hear how WRTA operations would impact life in Green Island and use of the park.

The first I heard about this plan was several months ago when it was mentioned at one of the Crompton Park meetings held by the Worcester Parks Department (that’s another story). There have been several articles about the sale in the T & G over the past few months.

The only reason I was at the press conference yesterday was because I was walking my dog and saw a tent going up on Quinsigamond Ave. and asked about the event. I was told it was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new WRTA headquarters.

Let me make it clear: No one from the neighborhood was invited to this event, even though it was mentioned that the neighborhood welcomes this move. I spoke with Barbara Haller and Mayor Joseph O’Brien after the event to voice my opinion and to make it very clear to the mayor that the neighborhood was not involved in the decision, and no one from the neighborhood was invited to attend the press conference.

Green Island neighborhood activist Lorraine Laurie may have known about the plans for the move (not the press conference), but she is telling me that the weather was too harsh for a meeting and that this is private property that can be sold to anyone.

I strongly disagree. Even building on private property has to have any plan approved by the City of Worcester Zoning Board and Planning Department, at the very least. I am planning a meeting with Mayor O’Brien to review the plan and will eventually bring it to the people of Green Island. Lorraine may be setting up a meeting with Steve O’Neil, director of the WRTA.

As a resident of Green Island, I see this as the death knell for the residential aspect of Green Island.

Do you remember what Millbury Street looked like 10 years ago, before the Route 146 connector went in? I would like to see these operations – WRTA and Mass. Department of Transportation – moved to the old Wyman Gordon property on Lamartine Street. According to Lorraine Laurie, WRTA was not asked to buy the property. More importantly, it is probably more money than the WRTA wanted to spend.

In my opinion, buy the land, get grants to clean up the toxins in the soil, and turn it into an extension of Crompton Park!

I would appreciate knowing the how’s and why’s of this move.

One of the reasons the WRTA may be leaving Grove Street may be because of the noise and pollution the huge bus garage/operations center brings to the neighborhood.

To DPW and Parks head Bob Moylan: Do not dismantle urban shrines

By Rosalie Tirella

I remember seeing the makeshift shrine on Grafton Street about a year or two ago. I was driving up Dorchester Street, going to Building 19. I came to the end of the street, the intersection of Dorcester and Grafton streets, and there it was: the wreath, the cellophane hearts and flowers. I knew instantly: Some one had died there – in that exact spot.
I had read about the tragedy in the papers.

“God,” I said to myself. “What a horrible way to die – car speeding straight into a stone wall … .”

The driver, a young guy, had been at a party and decided to drive home drunk. Zooming down Dorchester Street, a long and hilly affair that seems to go on forever, he was too drunk to see the stop sign at the end of Dorchester, too drunk to notice the street had come to an end, too drunk to slow down … . And a young life came to a violent halt that night.

I was reminded of the incident for months because I’m always driving around the Grafton Street shopping plaza – for groceries, whatever, – and always drive up Dorchester Street to get there. For months, I always saw the shrine to that young man. For months family and friends maintained it, cleaned up and updated what was now hallowed ground.
You see that a lot with urban shrines – they are kept up beautifully. At Christmas there are wreaths tacked to the spot where victims exhaled their last breaths of air. On Valentine’s Day you see the heart-shaped candy boxes and pink stuffed animals adorning pictures of the deceased. Little statues of plaster or Paris angels bought at the Dollar Store.
Color in a sometimes drab world. Life in a sometimes deadly world.

When I see an urban shrine well maintained for months – and most of them are – I think: that person is not forgotten, the community has not forgotten him/her.

So many times poor people are forgotten by society or dismissed by the people around them. People with power or money who see poor folks as too noisy, too ignorant, too unattractive … . Whatever. I have seen/experienced it. You go to places and people talk over you and past you because they know you don’t have the best car or the best clothes or you’re too old or too young. And you can’t touch them.

But the shrines do touch people – they can touch an entire neighborhood – or even city.

And often times poor folks create a kind of church service at these sacred places. Maybe they can’t afford a flower-laden casket and the pomp and ceremony that you can buy at funeral homes. Sometimes bodies are even shipped to other states, in a way disappearing forever.

But with an urban shrine, people can exert some control. Plastic flowers from the Dollar Store can cascade down walls, golden-framed photos can rest on the sidewalk – out of the way and yet not too far away. So we don’t forget. A poem written by a friend. A placard with a place to write your name and goodbye … .

About a month ago, after the murder of a young guy in Crompton Park, I was driving down Quinsigamond Ave and noticed that a little shrine had popped up near the old field house there. Several people were gathered around the shrine, talking quietly, remembering the youth who had just been murdered … .

A bit of peace. A place to reflect on life … the evil of guns … what we can all do to make Worcester a better place.

The city mourns.

Mourns in a way that is true, heart-felt. The shrines that mourners set up in playgrounds, parks, sidewalks are really churches – gatherings of people to pray, to be together to give each other strength and maybe ask for God’s help. Churches, in the truest sense.

People need churches, need to come together. It is a shame that DPW and Parks Head Robert Moylan has decided to desecrate urban shrines and the experiences they embody.

It is a shame that Moylan has decided – with the City Council’s blessing – to give inner-city folks 30 days to have their shrines up. And then: a DPW truck comes along and picks it all up – like so much refuse.

To be fair to Moylan, he said the City of Worcester would keep the personal affects, memorabilia for a bit of time.
So the mourners could pick up … pieces of their hearts at DPW headquarters – with the garbage trucks and plows and noise buzzing all around them.

This new rule is senseless and callous and needs to be repealed.

Crime update

By Sue Moynagh

A month ago, a group of neighborhood people, with the help of Representative John Fresolo, held a press conference to speak out against increasing violence in our Union Hill community. I wrote an article for the InCity Times a few days later, detailing our concerns, and letting the public know that we all have to play a part in taking back our neighborhood. On Monday, November 29, there was another press conference, in Green Island’s Crompton Park, because of another act of senseless violence. The body of Kevin Shavies, age 21, was found early Sunday morning. He died of a gunshot wound to the head. The violence continues.

Later on the same day, a group of concerned residents met at the Green Island Neighborhood Center for the second public hearing on the Crompton Park Master Plan Update. Police Chief Gary Gemme attended, knowing the issue of safety would be foremost in our minds. He could give little information about the victim or the progress of the investigation, which has been given high priority, but reassured residents that police presence in Green Island would increase. Reinforcements would come, however, from the Vernon Hill neighborhood. (Union Hill is often referred to as Vernon or Oak Hill). He also asked those present to call and report if they have any information about this crime. The need for community involvement is crucial. This was something we had stressed at our own neighborhood press conference a month ago- the need for public participation in taking back our community. Continue reading Crime update

Don’t look a gift pool in the mouth!

By Rosalie Tirella

How typically Worcester! How stupidly Worcester! Here we go again! Shooting ourselves in the foot (and ankle, knee cap, hip joint, rib cage, etc, etc) – AGAIN! This is why our downtown is a freaking wasteland! This is why most people in the state think we’re a joke! This is why the young leave our seven hills in droves! The brohaha over the proposed swimming pool for Crompton Park has all the earmarks of a classic Worcester shit-storm: Yes, we want a pool at Crompton Park! No, we don’t want a pool in Crompton Park! Shove it up your tight butthole! NO! You shove it up your even tighter butthole! Worcester City Counilors (except for Barbara Haller) not doing their jobs (they had more than two years to decide what to do with our decrepit city pools!), then Worcester City Councilors grandstanding and bitching that they weren’t allowed to do their jobs! Well meaning community folks (mostly from the inner city) who have been disenfranchised for so long that they are totally inflexible on the issue just so they can feel like they matter to City Hall. Yup! Let’s all bite our noses to spite our faces!

And in the meantime, while our shitstorm blinds us, the $2.5 million that Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien has set aside for the building of a cool, cool new pool at Crompton Park in Green Island – the digging and construction was supposed to begin THIS FALL/MAYBE EVEN THIS MONTH, if we weren’t so busy attacking each other! – could disappear. The $2.5 million could go to pay for other things … like the $150,000+ salaries of regular ol’ Worcester cops (don’t get me started – just see our Top 150 Municipal Wage Earners of Worcester, to the left.) Now that would be a tragedy. Continue reading Don’t look a gift pool in the mouth!