Tag Archives: Main South CDC

Worcester photos by Ron O’Clair … the AG comes to town … and more!



Pics/text by Ron O’Clair

This image is of Jerry (Dino) Mariano, a cousin of Ray Mariano, who happens to be a member of the Genesis club, at Boston Donuts on Park Ave getting some grub on. He usually wears a funky leather hat, so this is a rare view of him hat less.


This is the house recently built by the Main South Community Development Corporation on Hollis and Kilby streets; it is a duplex …


… the other side. Beautiful!


A self portrait trying to document the injury to my eye socket. (editor’s note: Ron was taking videos in his Main South neighborhood and one of his neighbors didn’t take kindly to the videographing! So he slugged Ronny in the face! Now Ronny’s got a semi-detached retina!)


Previously a clean area, someone decided to drop their trash on the curb. I dislike litter.


broken car door mirror …





Teens! Join the City Manager’s Youth Council!

The Youth Opportunities Office is recruiting applicants for its 2016-2017 City Manager’s Youth Council.

Applications and student nominations are due on October 14.

If you are interested in nominating a student, please contact youth@worcesterma.gov.

The City of Worcester Youth Council was created in January of 2012 to establish a representative body of young people living in the City of Worcester entering the 9th and 10th grade during the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Youth Council gives young people a direct connection to local government and Youth Councilors take part in civic engagement, leadership development, and planning and decision making opportunities.

The Youth Council will also execute in the following assignments:

• Encouraging youth civic participation

• Enhancing young people’s roles in their community

• Construction of positive youth centered narratives

• Making recommendations, presentations and advocating on issues that affect youth their age

• Involving youth in community awareness and community service projects

• Forming and strengthening working relationships with community

• Eligible youth representation on Boards, Commissions, Committees and Councils

• Public speaking and leadership opportunities

Please spread the word and email us at youth@worcesterma.gov if you are interested in nominating a teen!

If you know a young person who is interested in applying, please have them fill out the application!




4 p.m.


At the Worcester Public Library!

Flamenco for Kids!

The Worcester Public Library will offer a free program for kids to learn Flamenco dancing from Edmy Ortiz, a fine artist, architectural designer, and Flamenco dancer.

The program is recommended for kids ages 4 and up.

The program is in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The first session was held on Friday, September 30 …The second session, Flamenco for Kids: Part II will be on Friday, October 14 at 4 p.m. This session will also be held in the Banx Room.

This will be your chance to practice and show off your Flamenco dancing skills. Flamenco offers many benefits to kids while they enjoy making noise with their feet!

You may dress-up for these events if you wish! Parents don’t forget to bring your cameras!

Sign-up is requested…you may register at the Children’s Room desk or by calling 508-799-1671.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Worcester Public Library.

For more information on the Worcester Public Library and a complete list of events and programs visit mywpl.org.

Welcome to Worcester’s District 4!

Daily or 3 X per week trash pick-up for D 4! An itense, inner-city district like mine needs the extra TLC!!! Urban revitalization NOW! Public health is our concern, too!




On the other hand, the Main South CDC is doing some wonderful work in D 4 (see below):




Go, Steve Teasdale and Main South CDC, go!!

pics/text: R.T.

Steve Teasdale of the Main South Community Development Corporation receives award!

By Jeffrey Li

This past summer, Steve Teasdale, executive director of the Main South CDC,  received a very prestigious award: the “Excellence in Community Development Award,” from the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC). MHIC presented the Main South CDC with this award for its vision that the Main South community could again become an attractive, healthy and desirable place to live, its commitment over 25 years to assembling the people, the institutions and the resources necessary to realize this vision, and its impact in creating an inclusive, revitalized community, with attractive homes, safer streets and engaged citizens. The award is also for J. Stephen Teasdale’s extraordinary leadership of Main South CDC since 1988.

The Main South CDC is a non-profit organization that was born in 1986 to address the Main South neighborhood residents’ concerns about the evident decline in the neighborhood and the increasing shortage of affordable housing. Main South is a diverse neighborhood in the Main Street area, the heart of  Worcester, which has struggled for many years to regain its footing after a precipitous post-industrial decline and major demographic changes.

With the help of state and federal funding and private equity and the cooperation of Worcester government, Clark University and other local communities, the Main South CDC has acquired, rehabilitated or constructed more than 300 units of housing in the neighborhood over the last 27 years.

Their housing development programs have not only physically transferred sections of Main South but also provided much needed safe, well managed affordable housing for the neighborhood residents.

Proud of what they have achieved, Stephen Teasdale and his team are determined to do more for the neighborhood, even though they have already initialized many programs to help the local society beyond housing, such as computer classes, resume assistance, VITA program for tax returns, and summer youth employment programs, just to name a few. Learned from their decades of housing developing experience, they have realized that rebuilding the physical environment itself is not enough for community revitalization and they need to get more involved in helping the neighborhood residents than just the housing.
“The mission of the Main South CDC is the revitalization of the Main South neighborhood and to create economic opportunity for its low-to-moderate income residents,” said Stephen Teasdale. “The Main South CDC is much more than just a housing development agency. As a non-profit group, we have developed quite a lot of housing but the idea was to discuss the sort of broader role of the Main South CDC has in Main South community with a particular focus on the sort of efforts to create collaborative partnerships these days, particularly look into the importance of providing educational opportunity for the youth of this neighborhood that has struggled in the past to achieve the academic standards.”

To learn more about the Main South CDC, please visit their website: http://www.mainsouthcdc.org/


Good news: The problems facing the Main South CDC are troublesome but not fatal

By Barbara Haller, Main South Community Development Corporation Board member, former District 4 City Councilor and Main South resident

The Main South CDC continues to work on strengthening its neighborhood in many rich and exciting ways.  The MSCDC continues to manage a large portfolio of affordable and livable apartments and to support home ownership.  The MSCDC is part of a growing community collaborative to improve educational outcomes of its children.   In short:  the Main South CDC is alive and kicking.

Bad News: The public altercation between the Main South’s CDC executive director Steve Teasdale and board member Billy Breault  was regretful.  If I could turn the clock back and make it not happen I surely would.

Steve has led the organization from the beginning. While progress in Main South has been all about teamwork,  you would be heardpressed to find anyone who would deny that Steve – his dedication, intelligence, talent and controlled ego – is the leader of the pack that made it all happen.

Billy has been the voice of public safety and neighborhood development.  He is both a leader and a cheerleader for Main South.  He lives in Main South.  His parents lived in Main South.  He is tried and true in his burning loyalty to his neighborhood and City.  He was Chair of MSCDC Board for many years and always a Board member.  He has represented the MSCDC very well.

But lines were crossed last month when Billy verbally attacked and threatened Steve – first in a voice mail and then in the MSCDC parking lot.  The partnership broke, the team fell apart.  The media were notified and fed information, it became a “story” to be reported.  The reasons for anger and extreme hostility?  Who ever really knows why these things happen, but there was mention of unsafe intersection in the neighborhood where Billy’s partner’s family was injured, there was mention of the   painfully drawnout federal audit of the MSCDC’s use of block grant, there was mention of the MSCDC’s involvement in Main South Promise Neighborhood, there was mention of the MSCDC’s pending sale of 93 Grand Street.  So it appears that this outburst had been festering for some time.

As an active Board member of the MSCDC I can assure everyone that neighborhood outreach continues to keep residents, businesses, and partners informed and engaged.  Likewise I affirm that the MSCDC is finding ways to address the troublesome intersection, is engaged in getting to the final needs of the federal audit, is committed to strong partnership in Main South Promise Neighborhood, and is working on the sale of 93 Grand Street to stabilize the MSCDC’s financial position on this property.  All with Board knowledge and support.  No secrets, no misconduct.

Those of us connected to the Main South CDC and to Billy Breault are saddened.   Both are good.  Both make great contributions to our City.  Together isn’t working anymore.  But life will go on.  The Main South CDC will survive.  Billy will find new ways to boost Main South.



The Main South CDC has done wonders for Worcester inner-city families!

City officials like Mike O’Brien and Tim McGourthy have to respect our community development corporations’ good work. The CDCs have given working city folks safe, beautiful, affordable homes/apts in which to raise their kids, live their lives. FOR YEARS! I love the homes and apartments the Main South CDC rehabs and builds! Like the one pictured below! It looks as colorful as a gumdrop in an Easter basket! New England homes and three deckers  are always painted in such conservative colors! Ick! Tres depressing! But all the Main South CDC homes make me smile when I drive by them. They remind me of the little houses in Hartford that the Latinos would live in – small but pink, yellow or blue – sometimes with blue astroturf for a little front “lawn.” Add a pitbull and or chihuahua and … voila! Casa sweet casa! – Rosalie Tirella










On today’s 4 p.m. meeting at City Hall re: Affordable housing in Worcester

By Rosalie Tirella

For far too long our CDCs have been the whipping boys of the “a new Woo on the rise” – or should we say “ruse”  – crowd. Developers with lots of dough (some good, some bad) who paint the CDCs as little more than “projects” filled with “pajama people,” people “who do not contribute,” women who are shacking up with boyfriends – all the usual racial and class stereotypes called up during discussions like the one the city will be having today at 4 p.m. at the Worcester City Hall. TODAY!

These developers claim that by putting the kibbosh on the CDCs and cutting back on the city’s affordable housing stock, Worcester will be reinvigorated with newcomers. People who will come to our city with new ideas, new … money. These developers  paint the bleakest picture of Worcester (because our people do not conform to their preconceptions) – it is a false snapshot of my city. Worcester IS a Gateway City, but it is a Gateway City that is doing a thousand times better than the state’s other Gateway Cities, such as Springfield (they almost went bankrupt a few years ago), Lawrence (poor, poor,poor) and Lowell. Worcester, with its upper-middle class neighborhoods (the kind you would see in the better parts of Brookline, for instance), its many colleges, teaching hospital and hospitals and AMAZING AMOUNT OF GREEN SPACE is miles ahead of these other Gateway Cities. But it is no tourist town either – a place where people can go to forget the world and their problems. Worcester is, in its own wide open, clean, relatively safe, tree-filled way a huge family town and a little Statue of Liberty – welcoming people from all over the world. Take a walk through Main South or Piedmont and you get the picture – the feel: Great ethnic food, clothing, languages, cultures, traditions. Again, we have a ton of middle and upper class neighborhoods in the city that are as Leave it to Beaver as you can get. Our inner city hoods are exciting, real and diverse. Let’s keep them going!!!

Years ago, Wusta’s newcomers could have found decent paying work in the scores of factories in our city. If they, like many of my Polish immigrant relatives, worked hard and saved their paychecks,  they could even become homeowners – buy a so-so three decker in neighborhoods like Green Island, South Worcester. As  homeowners in these working class hoods, my relatives stabilized parts of the city the well off didn’t want to be a part of – and they offered shelter from the storm of life to relatives and friends.

No more. Today, Worcester’s factories are dead. Our newcomers – many who struggle with English and have few skills – do not have the economic opportunities their counterparts had in the 1940s and 1950s. Video gaming and bio tech jobs will not close Worcester’s job gap. However, this doesn’t mean our new people should be shunned or shunted away from Worcester. The minimum wage needs to be raised, city leaders must – like New Bedford has – hustle to bring new, light industry to Worcester, so that today’s Wusta immigrants and under-educated folks can have decent paying jobs so they can pay the bills – have a shot at a stable, working class life.


In fact, the CDCs are saving Worcester’s butt! The economy has wreaked havoc on the housing market. Inflated prices for crap housing stock, housing stock bought by developers (some out of towners) who either flip the buildings or cut up the apartments and charge high rents. People – renters – are exploited. By building safe and affordable appartments and condos through the years, the Main South CDC has stabilized many families and rescued Main South – a total pit in the 1970s, a place where my uncle, getting out of his car to pick up a prescription at Moynihan’s in the middle of the afternoon, was pounced upon by a prostitute. A good egg, and Worcester boy, he took it in stride and went inside the pharmacy to get his prescription. Much of the grime and icky housing stock, thnaks to the Main South CDC,  has been  replaced with beautiful units or reclaimed. The housing has been rented out/sold to working folks who need safe, affordable housing and a landlord that will not jack up the rent, treat his tenants like shit, flip his property, be lax with his property, etc. The way many developers are. I am not saying all developers are low lifes – I know a few nice ones – but they are outside the norm. Most landlords want to make as much money off their tenants as possible. Their properties are a business to them – not a social contract. Often times families in Woo apartments are living in cold water flats … and struggle to pay their bills and feed their families – or save $$ for a better fuure. Off they flee, in the middle of the night sometimes, ahead of the constable. The kids suffer in school, parents are stressed … .

The CDCs take the anxiety out of the picture, and, contrary to what some developers in town tell you, THEY DO HAVE AND FOLLOW INCOME GUIDELINES. My friend, a wonderful single mom with kids and a full time job, could not get into CDC housing because she did not make enough money! The CDC housing stock is not filled with “pajama people.” The condos and apartments are filled with working class people – many of them immigrants or immigrants’ kids – who contribute, hold jobs and make our city vibrant.

Worcester is Worcester. We have our challenges but we are a family town with a healthy middle class. Unfortunately, many of these wealthier folks are not spending their money at sushi bars – places where many developers want to see them, kind of upper income urban hipsters. We have those folks. But many of our upper income folks are not cruising bars  … . They have kids and family responsibilities. Many are socking away their dough in college bank accounts for their kids. Some are saving for a vacation home at the Cape. It is a more conservative way to spend expendable money, but these wealthier folks create the Worcester I want to live in: family focused, strong, green and safe.

Don’t dump on CDCs, the working class or affordable housing! Worcester is a great city – and don’t you forget it!!!

Wouldn’t you love …

By Rosalie Tirella

… a strong mayor for Worcester? Someone like Boston’s Tom Menino? Someone who could really build up a city but do it with heart? Have a kind of moral compass? Articulate a vision of the city, a vision that is inclusive, compassionate, fair-minded?

We don’t seem to get that with our City Manager Mike O’Brien. Lately, what with the CDCs, panhandlers, homeless folks, ice oval issues, it feels like we are living in some sort of mini-Russia, with O’Brien our Vladimir Putin. Only with way better hair.

I do not want to live in a city where good men like Steve Patton are demonized after years of public service and driven out of town. As if he were some kind of criminal.

I do not want to see panhandlers dragged off the streets by cops just because some upper middle class diner doesn’t like the way they looked at her.

I do not want to drive by our city hall to find NO ICE SKATERS ON THE ICE OVAL because the city manager is charging a $25 deposit to rent a pair of skates (plus admission fee!) and that the poorer folks who are usually around the common, with kids we may add, cannot afford the winter fun.

We want a strong mayor who makes policy but also speaks to our better selves, our inner angels.

I want a person who can say the things I want to hear. That Worcester cares about all its people. That the downtown common is for everyone to enjoy, and skate on. That the drug addicted and the homeless will not be packed off somewhere, such as the nearest police holding cell. That we have too many poor families and not enough safe, affordable apartments for them. That we will respect the people who live here. That we will not build walls. Only bridges.

O’Brien is a guy who cannot seem to say the grand, inspiring things that people want to, and need to, hear. Yes! Sometimes Worcesterites simply need to hear compassionate words from leaders, reassuring words. Sometimes we need to see our city leader handing out blankets to the homeless, a la Boston Mayor Tom Menino.

We need less tough talk in these difficult times, more pats on the back, a touch of the hand. Backed up, of course, by humane, inspired urban policy.

Yesterday’s celebrations: Worcester’s CDCs shine at City Hall and Jimi would have turned 70

Well, our CDC’s shined last night at Worcester’s City Council meeting! Their representatives stood tall and told the city council – or anyone who doubts their great work:


Tour our units/buildings! Look at all the property taxes we pay to the city! In fact, we just paid $100,000 in fees. Best of all, our homes stay affordable for the next working family who wants to buy them (no building-flipping here, folks!). Neighborhoods stabilize – bloom.

Fantastic! Let’s all work together to make Worcester GREAT!

Another celebration – though it would be wonderful if he were still alive making music:

Jimi Hendrix’s 70th birthday: celebrate with this classic interview. Printed in The Guardian. (click on links below to hear/see J.H.) – R.Tirella



From The Guardian:

The guitarist and songwriter – born 27 November 1942 – found fame in the UK first. Here’s an interview from when he burst to the scene in the States, published in the Detroit Free Press on 28 August 1967 – courtesy of Rock’s Backpages, the world’s leading archive of vintage music journalism,

By Loraine Alterman

Guitar hero … Jimi Hendrix in 1967. The songwriter would have turned 70 today. Photograph: Herb Schmitz/Rex Features

No exaggeration: the Jimi Hendrix Experience is the most exciting act I have yet seen in pop music.

A small, musically hip group of kids turned out to see Jimi at the Fifth Dimension in Ann Arbor recently. Jimi, his bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell are creating a sensation in England and Europe – but the word hasn’t spread here yet.

On stage, Jimi, with hair a la Dylan, puts on a show with his brilliant guitar playing and electric stage presence. While performing, Jimi swings the guitar in back of him and plays it resting on his back. He also zings it with his teeth or falls to the floor to play it. Sometimes (but not at the Fifth Dimension), he burns it at the end of his set. In Ann Arbor, when his amplifier blew, he flung the amp to the floor at the end of his last set and jumped up and down on top of it.

Paradoxically, he never blows his cool. While he’s frantic, he’s casual. … .

To read more, click on the link below. R.T.: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/nov/27/jimi-hendrix-70th-birthday-interview

The Main South CDC: a proud history

Early Years: 1988-1990

The MSCDC’s first office space was provided by Clark University and was located in the attic area of the university administrative building. With no air conditioning, no air circulation and ninety degree temperatures outside, it soon became apparent that a move was necessary and “prime” office space was located a block from the university in an empty commercial space that formerly housed White’s Cleaners. In fact, “White’s Cleaners” (with a few letters missing) was still prominently displayed above the door.

At first, more visitors to the building were people looking for drycleaning than perople coming in to talk about MSCDC functions and business. In addition to the confusion over whether we were a MSCDC or a cleaners, we also dealt with stray cats that lived above the suspended ceilings and the problem of having to regularly evacuate the premises when the heating system malfunctioned and fumes and soot were blown into the office space.

However, through these early “adventures” the MSCDC was able to undertake some substantive work. State and local foundation funding was obtained and the MSCDC was able to hire Maria Rosario as property manager and Myrna Benson as receptionist. The additional staffing was necessary as the MSCDC had been fortunate enough to quickly locate and acquire its first property, 927 Main Street. The building consisted of 6 units of distressed housing and two run down commercial spaces and was located in a priority area under the MSCDC’s triage approach to its revitalization efforts.

This first project was a benchmark in the history of the MSCDC. It proved that the MSCDC could access loan capital from conventional lenders by combining it with state and federal grants and financing from secondary sources such as Clark and the Massachusetts Community Development Finance Corporation. The project clearly illustrated the Catch-22 situation that is encountered when trying to improve properties in distressed areas. Banks will not make large enough loans to improve property beyond the average market value of property in the area. When average values are depressed it is economically impossible to improve property without exceeding the average market valuation.

Therefore, in the absence of large amounts of equity, improving property in a distressed area required multi-layered Continue reading The Main South CDC: a proud history