Tag Archives: downtown Worcester revitalization

We hear the nail guns as we drive by … we look to the side and see …

… all the new downtown Worcester apartments going up.

CM Ed Augustus is gambling big time that his urban vision and actions will fly. …
yesterday, downtown Worcester

It all makes me a little nervous – so different from the downtown Worcester dynamics I knew as a little kid – bustling and diverse but in a very organic, local, store-by-store fashion. But, hey, we’re a little deprived here, in this Gateway City! We needed to do something to revive our moribund downtown!



If building a ton of market-rate apartments and filling them with well heeled folks is the answer to our problems – even though it feels a little artificial – I HOPE IT WORKS OUT! I hope all THE STORES AND RESTAURANTS AND BOUTIQUES AND HOO HA FOLLOW!! And survive in a tough, cheapskate Woo economy!



Yes, we seem to have a fed/state government-subsidized downtown, the latest urban renewal fad, and for me that is scary! I don’t trust the govt!😉But IF IT WORKS OUT GREAT, I will drink the downtown Koolaid! I WILL BE SOOOO HAPPY!❤❤

CM and chamber leaders: please! Don’t forget the stores and places for us natives! The hoi polloi of Green Island, Vernon Hill, Main South! I would love to be able to grocery shop/shop at a Trader Joe’s or a Target. Good stuff cheap. People – even richer ones – need to shop beyond boutiques! They want places to get day to day goods and food – at affordable prices. IKEA calling?!?! And a restaurant that doesn’t sell their bowls of mac ‘n’ cheese for 10 bucks!! would be nice…homemade but affordable for this working class gal!


I would also like to see FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE CLASSES FOR ALL IN OUR DOWNTOWN! This would help the people in my ‘hood immensely!

Still, it’s great to drive by all the building and brrr brrr brrr!! noise and see a downtown I can no longer recognize…a revitalized downtown Worcester?????


Text+pics: Rose T.

P.S. I could listen to Rod sing to me all day!😉😉

On the road yesterday…Have you checked out THE OUT TO LUNCH CONCERTS, FARMERS MARKETS, FOOD TRUCKS extravaganza …

ICT head honcho Rosalie … It’s hot out!

behind Worcester City Hall? On the Worcester Common? FREE! Every Thursday – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

God, it was fab seeing so many people exuding optimism! Happy to be in our downtown! Such a diverse crowd! Everyone energized by our city! There was exuberant music, food, farmers market, pretty tables to sit at, rolling green lawn for billowing blankets!

Was I in another city??!

Was this our downtown Worcester?

Dare I use the adjective “festive” to describe the vibes behind Worcester City Hall?!





The Broadway,located at 100 Water St., needs to get down here with some of their homemade icecream!

You need to make the jaunt!



Pics/text: Rosalie Tirella

Worcester Public Library parking lot targeted again for development

By Steven R. Maher

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

In 2012 city officials unveiled a plan to develop the Worcester Library parking lot into a hockey rink. When opposition to this proposal arose – including from the Worcester School Committee and a Worcester library task force – city officials located another site for the hockey rink.

But when the Worcester City Council on June 14, 2016 unanimously approved the Urban Revitalization Plan, a page in the display package at the meeting entitled “Primary Development Opportunities” listed the library parking lot as the fourth among seven top “opportunities”. Among the projects considered less an “opportunity” by city officials include the old Paris Cinema and Filene’s building.

The library parking lot is not a behemoth straddling any downtown arteries. The area available to the public contains approximately 400 parking spaces, of which approximately 175 spaces are set aside for Quinsigamond University students at the school’s downtown Worcester campus.

Urban blight

The Urban Revitalization Plan is one of the most audacious – and complex – redevelopment programs city government has ever put forward. The blueprint encompasses 118.4 acres of land with 380 properties in the downtown Main Street corridor, will cost an estimated $104 million, create 1,100 construction jobs over the project’s twenty year lifespan, and 1,400 permanent jobs.

“The plan has been developed over the past year by the City of Worcester and Worcester Redevelopment Authority [WRA], in conjunction with consultant BSC Group, with significant public input. A Citizen Advisory Committee, made up of 15 representatives of the community, helped shape the plan over the course of 10 public meetings,” asserts the city on its website. “The urban renewal program invests the WRA, as a designated urban renewal agency, with certain powers to catalyze development within an urban renewal area. Urban renewal powers include the power to determine what areas within its jurisdiction constitute decadent, substandard or blighted open areas, the power to acquire property through eminent domain and access to certain public funding sources.”

Past urban renewal took the form of a “scorched earth” gambit in which whole city blocks were bulldozed. The Urban Revitalization Plan is a “weed and seed” approach in which the city seeks to cultivate the rehabilitation of cityscape blemishes, which have deteriorated over time due to a lack of investment. If necessary, the city will use its imminent domain powers, subject to City Council approval, to take these eyesores and sell them to entrepreneurs with the wherewithal to rehabilitate them.

This endeavor, if successful, will regenerate the municipal center into a much cleaner urban core, with each distinct parcel harmonizing and strengthening each other as a whole, reviving jobs, tax revenue, and property values.

Past opposition

Few would dispute that the Salem Square main library is one of the city’s great gems. Reopened after $20 million in renovations in 2001 (including a 50,000 square foot extension), the library collection included, according to the Worcester Telegram, “520,000 books, more than 370,000 government documents, 72,000 microfilms, 46,000 talking books, nearly 8,000 videotapes and more than 1,000 magazines and newspapers.”

Capital upgrades since 2001 have made the Worcester library probably the best public facility of its kind in Central Massachusetts. With its self-service kiosks, automated book take-out and return scanners, and dozens of computers on the three public floors available free of charge to the public, it is a technically sophisticated marvel. The library is often packed with users, particularly the computer terminals. The strong police presence makes the most crime-adverse library customer feel secure.

Without parking nearby, the city could end up with another white elephant on its hands – a dinosaur that residents can’t access without walking several blocks from downtown parking garages, particularly in the middle of a nasty winter. As one board member of the Friends of the Worcester Public Library said at a WRA meeting: “Many patrons of the library have limited mobility or young children, parking needs to be in close proximity.”

After the 2012 plan was made public, opposition to the proposal grew, first in the InCity Times, then in the blogosphere, and then among city boards.

“Criticism of the plan has centered on a proposal to construct an ice rink in the municipal parking lot next to the library,” the Worcester Telegram reported on November 29, 2012. “A library task force has recommended against putting an ice rink there because of the impact it would have for library patrons, along with aesthetic concerns about how it would fit into the neighborhood.”

The Worcester School Committee opposed the plan. The minutes of their March 13, 2013 meeting record: “To ask that the City Council, in addressing the Downtown Master Plan, preserve the current parking lot behind the Worcester Public Library, for the benefit and well-being of the citizens – and especially of the children of Worcester – who depend on the library.”

In March 2016 Worcester’s daily newspaper reported that the city had approved plans for the hockey rinks on Winter Street in the Canal District.

The Worcester Library parking lot is not a “decadent, substandard or blighted open area”. It is a necessary adjunct to a thriving and safe city asset. There is a distinct possibility the Worcester Library might evolve into another Worcester Airport, an under-utilized fossil rendered extinct by the wrong decisions of city officials blinded by the Holy Grail of downtown development.