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.