By Rosalie Tirella
… the shit still sits on Water Street:
…and Millbury Street, too:
Welcome to the Canal District.
As Worcester gentrifies its older neighborhoods because it doesn’t have the thousands of factory jobs it once had …
… to support its inner-city folks, our inner-city neighborhoods – Grafton Hill, Green Island, Piedmont, lower Vernon Hill, Cambridge/Canterbury streets, parts of Main South – die. The three deckers now expensive$$$ rental property owned by absentee investor-landlords who LOVE Section 8, our residents often desperate welfare cheats or criminals! We see our city lose its soul.
Worcester – home to huge swaths of poor people (one in four of our children is labeled food-insecure,
govt-speak for hungry, malnourished!), forever on the outs.
Neighborhoods without the buzzing kids and their worker bee parents embarking on the American Dream.
We see the lack of civil respect that comes with living OUTSIDE society: for people (scrawny/obese, violent, under educated), places (garbage-infested dumps), things (guns).
… And the garbage pile-ups are the least deadly of our urban ills …
… but still a symptom of our deep urban dysfunction.
The death of my people. The death of a way of life I knew and loved as a kid growing up in Green Island.
A way of being American. A good civic and life path that was open to all Worcesterites. Worcester, like all Gateway Cities, celebrated at every turn: in her scores and scores of factories, our very solid public schools, our oppressive yet beautiful and spiritual Catholic churches…
I never saw garbage overflowing in our city streets as a little kid growing up in Green Island!
And we were all poor!
Yeah, we can blame the City of Worcester DPW, our city councilors etc. But mostly, it’s we, the people. Lacking the self respect and pride to be clean. Lacking the discipline to forgo the junk food shit at the corner Dollar Store and save the 10 bucks needed to buy the City of Worcester yellow garbage bag in which to dispose our crap!
Of course, our newly developing Downtown is now home to hundreds of high priced “luxury apartments” designed to keep out the poor locals. Woo City Manager Ed Augustus is pinning our Center City dreams on outsiders – not the locals from the once blue collar neighborhoods that made our downtown, in its heyday, sparkle and hum! Today new folks, well off people, will treat our downtown as their personal playground – their dining and entertainment hub. Our Downtown!! Once home to the most mundane offices and businesses that served Worcester’s sturdy hoi polloi! Poof! Gone! Along with the beautiful Notre Dame church – another symbol of the changes.
So, obviously, I feel a bit cut off. So do my neighbors. The new Worcester doesn’t speak to us, for us. I’ll never be able to afford dinner at Dead Horse. I’ll never hang in the cool apartments. Along with thousands and thousands of other poorer Woo folks.
Our economy is half-decimated – if you’re without schooling, an immigrant, or just wanna work with your hands… you’re screwed!
So what happens to half our population? The half that is under-paid, under-educated, poorly housed and clothed?
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it explode????
Kudos to State Senator Danny Donahue for proposing legislation that will raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour!
A big hooray for District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero Carlson for pushing the City of Worcester to pay each and every one of its workers at least $15 an hour!
No charity! Good jobs! Good paychecks! Home-ownership! Like the ol’ days!
FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR ALL OUR POOR AND LOWER MIDDLE CLASS KIDS! So they can grab hold of that gold ring, too!!
A REAL FOOD HUB for Worcester shoppers who aren’t middle class! Our people – children! – are hungry!
The city’s got to save HALF THE CITY!
My half. The half slipping away each and every day …