Tag Archives: neighborhoods

Preservation Worcester’s Holiday Stroll!

Start the holiday season off “on the right foot” by partaking in Preservation Worcester’s Holiday Stroll!

The Stroll is a seasonal favorite for those who enjoy fine architecture, who relish the opportunity to enter some of Worcester’s architectural gems and who are enthusiastic to experience grand homes decorated for the season.

Whether you are looking for ideas for your own home or are interested in having the rare opportunity to view exceptional design and architecture, we know that our Stroll will provide a wonderful kick-off to a busy holiday season!

The Holiday Stroll will be held on Sunday, December 7, from noon to 5 PM in the Hammond Heights National Register District Neighborhood.

Hammond Heights is a handsome, well-preserved, suburban neighborhood established about 1890 covering three blocks of a hillside site between Highland Street and Institute Road. Prior to 1890, the area was part of the John Hammond Farm.  The area’s architecture offers a range of styles and house types which were popular in the middle and upper-middle-class suburbanization of Worcester’s west side at the turn of the century.  Most of the homes are architect designed.

Tour goers will be able to walk from home to home.  Roving carolers will add to the festivities.  A small gift shop will be set up in one of the homes.  We will be auctioning wreathes decorated by local celebrities.

The Stroll, together with a fundraiser Holiday Reception scheduled to follow the event in another historic home, will benefit the work of Presentation Worcester.

For advance reservations, checks made payable to Preservation Worcester can be mailed to Preservation Worcester at 10 Cedar Street, Worcester, MA 01609 or reservations can be made via phone charged to Visa, MasterCard or American Express by calling PW at 508-754-8760 or though our website at www.preservationworcester.org.

Tickets for the day of the event will be available at Preservation Worcester at 10 Cedar Street for the Stroll only as the Party requires advance reservations.

In summary, Preservation Worcester Holiday Stroll will be held on December 7, 2014 from noon to 5PM, with optional Holiday Reception (at an additional expense) at an additional home from 5-7 PM.

Advance reservations for the Holiday Stroll – $28

Advance reservations for the Holiday Stroll – PW Members – $25

Day of the event Holiday Stroll tickets – $30

Holiday Reception – $40 – reservations required

Reserve early and at the latest by December 3 at 5PM for tour discount and/or party.

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Preservation Worcester is a private, not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation of the buildings and sites that represent the culture, history and architecture of Worcester.  The organization, comprised of concerned citizens, believes that promoting the cause of preservation and good urban design will encourage community pride in our cultural and architectural heritage as well as continued use of Worcester’s valuable resources.  Preservation Worcester works with neighborhood groups, developers, city departments, schools and state and local historical commissions to support revitalization of unique and irreplaceable buildings and their neighborhoods.

I love the city in the fall! Worcester in autumn-time! Someone write the song, pleeze!!

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Today in Greendale I saw this cute pit in a car – wearing an adorable hat, waiting patiently for his owner, while listening to Johnny Cash on the radio!! (I kid you not!) Beautiful!

Then off to Piedmont to the Chandler Street Elementary School. This inner-city school looks lovely and inviting! All the color and pretty-ness! Flowers galore, colored benches, a big beautiful blue welcome sign for parents and community! Lovely!  Wish I had taken more photos!

Go out and SEE  – really SEE! – your city!

– Rosalie Tirella

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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.

Sigh.

 

Good neighbors

By Edith Morgan

WE have often heard it said that “Worcester is a city of neighborhoods”. And a cursory examination of our city certainly seems to bear out this observation: we have rich and poor ones, ethnic ones, older ones and newer ones. It seems that many people choose to live near those most like themselves, in some important respects – similar incomes, similar religious beliefs, similar age, similar color, similar language, and many other kinds of similarities that draw people together, when they have a choice.

But regardless of these superficial similarities, some features of a neighborhood are the same, regardless of the differences between them. We all want to live in a comfortable, clean, safe homes, where we can move about freely, walk our pets, run or walk for exercise, invite friends and family, and generally go about our business without fear.

We do have our “crime watch” groups, and we keep an eye out for potential trouble. But we are very fortunate that we do not have armed, self-appointed “guardians” roaming our neighborhoods, deciding who “belongs” and who does not. We act more in lieu of the old-time “nosy neighbor”, who knew who everyone was, and who reported to concerned families what their sometimes errant children were up to.

But the best protection any neighborhood has is provided by its residents, especially those who have a vested interest in keeping the area livable; and usually, that means those who OWN the homes they live in. Whether it is a triple decker or a single family home, if the owner lives right there, the chances of trouble developing are so much slimmer – an owner has a vested interest in taking care of the property, seeing that tenants meet expectations, and above all, are likely to stay there long enough to get to know the neighbors, develop a network of cooperative efforts to keep the street safe, clean, and in good repair. There is strength in numbers, as many of us who have worked to improve things in our corner of the city have learned.

So I have been very dismayed that the great  work of the CDCs and other groups working to rehab and make economically-stressed families successful first-time home owners has been slowed down so much …..Putting young families into decent housing, enabling them to become committed neighbors and homeowners – isn’t that what we want for our city? I have nothing against renters – most of our students are roomers – but they are also better off is they live in an owner-occupied place.

WE still have so many houses standing empty, quietly deteriorating as they sit unused, a constant threat to their neighborhoods, as squatters, drug users, thieves, and others are attracted to these unfortunate buildings…How much better it would be if we could rapidly match those in need of a home with these places, provide the training and the initial funding, welcome them into our neighborhoods. Many years ago there was a program called “Welcome Wagon”- perhaps we could welcome new arrivals, share our experiences in our area, and show them by example what it takes to build and maintain a good neighborhood. My experience has always been that people will treat you as you treat them.  My earliest memories are of my mother baking something and taking it around to introduce us to our neighbors, While we wer never again able to have a house (fleeing during WWII) we were always taught that where you live is your home, and you take care of it.

Empty nests

By Edith Morgan

As I look around my neighborhood, and as I think about friends in my age range, it seems that something important has changed: the old family homestead no longer is: immigrant families once came, bought a triple decker or duplex, raised a family there, maybe brought the grandparents over, and several generations lived in the same house. The tradition in many nations (most notably, among the Irish) was that at least one of the children would remain in the family home after the parents were gone. My friend Martha, recently deceased, went back to Wareham and bought her family home; Peggy around the corner bought HER parents’ home and lived there until her death. My neighbor Bill followed the old Irish tradition also, and is still in the family home.

But now I look around my neighborhood, and more and more I see the big old gracious houses where my neighbors raised six and seven children, standing empty, waiting to be sold to strangers. And it is saddening, because something is getting lost in the fabric of neighborliness that was the glue that held together the neighborhood, provided familiarity and the safety that comes from knowing the people around you, and the comforting feeling that help and caring is always near.

Perhaps it is because we all live longer and our young ones can not have the house for so many years, or perhaps it is that so often the newer generation want to be independent, want to have the newest fixtures, want to be nearer to their work, or want to follow their spouses. Whatever the reason, what I miss most is the commitment to the neighborhood, the neighborhood school, the support for neighborhood stores, and the “nosy neighbor” who was a tradition in many neighborhoods, and could be counted upon to know who came, who went, what everyone was doing, and who would report her (it was usually a “her”) findings . a number of us grew up staying on the “straight and narrow path” because we knew we were observed and reported upon. Annoying as we might have found that, it did prevent the need for extensive foot patrols!

And of course the younger generations travel much lighter than we did (I am in my eighties, and attached to thousands of books and memorabilia) and are more likely to throw things out. I can remember how many times my mother saved something, always sure that someday it would be of use – and surprisingly often, she was right.

And so, as I watch the huge dumpsters being filled with the accretions of nearly a century, I am saddened that it all has to be taken to be crushed and burned , unwanted, unused, and no longer loved….and the many things that are memory triggers for children and grandchildren are gone, though I hope that they had a chance to save a few things that will serve to remind them.

Many large, roomy, well-built houses throughout our city sit empty, waiting for someone with imagination and an appreciation of the finer aspects of living – the high ceilings, the finely-milled woodwork, the tall old trees, the obvious care that was taken by the builders who put up these homes with a view to the future. But I worry that in this age of digital clocks, where we see only the moment, of plastic, of constant change for the sake of change, that we may not have enough imagination to see the grace and beauty in these places, and let them deteriorate. And Preservation Worcester can not do it all!