Tag Archives: Quinsigamond Ave.

Quinsigamond Ave: work on WRTA garage site progresses

By Lorraine Michele Laurie

In keeping with his promise to inform the neighborhood, Stephen F. O’Neil, Administrator of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority, held a community meeting on Thursday, September 25 to discuss the progress of site work at 42 Quinsigamond Ave., future home of the WRTA Maintenance and Operations Facility.

The informational meeting was the fifth held in the neighborhood and was hosted by the Green Island Neighborhood Center in Crompton Park assisted by the Green Island Residents Group, Inc.
Accompanying Mr. O’Neil were members of the “Team” –  Thomas Coyne, Assistant Administrator of the WRTA, Neal DePasquale of STV Inc., the Architect, and Steve Eustis of SKANSKA USA Building Inc., the Construction Manager who reported on progress over the past three or four months.

Mr. Eustis said that remediation work will take place for four or five months.  They will go down to bedrock and break up the concrete that is still at the location of the former tanks.  They have even discovered “rooms” in the foundations of the tanks.

Because of the nature of the soil, the building will be erected on 350 piles. Foundation work should begin in February.  In December, they will make test pits for the piles and there will be banging to do so.
Mr. DePasquale reported that there are five or six kinds of soil at the site and the bulk of it is clean.  The contaminated soil will be taken out by the Providence and Worcester Railroad to special out of state locations.  The soil removal will be according to DEP requirements and there will be air monitoring and catch basins will be covered.

Work will occur between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.  Monday – Friday.  Mr. Eustis said they are trying to avoid weekends.  In two or three weeks they will be able to move the sand. 

There will be a full–time presence on the site.  Christopher McDermott of TRC, Senior Project Manager- Remediation Practice will be in charge of this section of the project.

Mr. DePasquale said that they will follow the Better Management Program by using hay bales and washing the vehicles before they leave the site.  The WRTA has received the O.K. from the Conservation Commission, the ZBA, the Planning Board and the building permit to start the foundation work.  They have followed the orders of conditions.

Mr. DePasquale went on to explain that the piles will be 80 feet. They have done three explorative probes. There have been several changes to the plans because of economic reasons but the 50 seat community room with toilet facilities and the parking layout will remain as planned.

When asked by one of the attendees about the flooding issue, Mr. DePasquale explained that the 100 year flood zone runs through the site.  The new building will be raised four or five feet above the floodplain.

There will be an alternative route for the buses in case of flooding by way of Lafayette Street.

Also, the City and State are working to try to address the flooding issue in Green Island.  The building itself will not contribute to the flooding.  Water will be collected off the roof and be diverted into an underground retention system. The water will be released when the flood waters dissipate.

In addition to reclamation of a brownfield site and the construction of a new building that will bring jobs to the neighborhood, some sidewalk improvements will also be made.  The sidewalk on the east side of Quinsigamond Ave. at Endicott Street will be made ADA compliant with curbs and handicapped ramp.  On the westside of Quinsigamond Ave. where the new facility will be located, the City sidewalk will be fixed and maintained. 

Bordering the sidewalk will be low shrubs that are drought resistant.  The building itself will be fully secured and have cameras.

There will be a topping off ceremony at the beginning of the year and completion date of the WRTA Maintenance and Operations Facility will be in the spring of 2016.

Green Islanders out of the loop (and pissed about it!), re: the building of new WRTA garage across from Crompton Park

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.