By Rosalie Tirella
… downtown. Students always make a city look/feel young. But let’s think beyond kids. And let’s look to Boston, the classic college city/oasis, as we redevelop our downtown. Boston is finally seeing some movement when it comes to redeveloping its Downtown Crossing, an old downtown hot spot, the place where Filenes used to be. This Boston icon was fun to visit in the 1980s when I would go into the city to visit my kid sister who lived there.
Back then Downtown Crossing was no Newbury Street, but it was a natural fit for a couple of Green Island girls! Basic stores, cheap eats, lots of working people. Nice vibe. Now there is a crater two stories deep where the old Filenes used to be. Redevelopment stalled, the building, now nicknamed THE HOLE, has reminded Bostonians just how tough these past few years have been on cities. A fight with the developer of the site lead the city of Boston to pull the building permits it had issued.
Well, today Filenes sings a different song. The site is back on track and, like Worcester officials, Boston’s movers and shakers are pushing for a lively mix of uses. Residences, offices, restaurants, etc. COOL POINT TO REMEMBER: the City of Boston is pressing for A SUPERMARKET TO BE BUILT AMIDST ALL THIS URBAN RENEWAL. The reason? Officials make perfect sense when they say, We want our new urban dwellers to be able to grocery shop. Right in their backyard. Literally.
Again, a Trader Joe’s would be perfect for the Worcester Public Library parking lot. The city says it’s going to be developed, like it ornot. This makes a lot of library patrons and downtownbiz folks mad because the lot IS USED, DOES SERVEA PURPOSE. Cheap parking. Easy, safeparking downtown.
These peeps must wake up! We’re a city on the move, not Oxford orthe Greendale Mall parking lot. Cities on the move are never car parking heavens or havens. It’s a bit of a battle, and it willcostyou somedough. Let’saccept and BE GRATEFUL FOR OURNEWURBAN REALITY.
So let’s do this intelligently. Screw the hockey rink. Get a sharp, cool supermarket in that parking lot so that new downtownresidentshave a place to shop for quality food at lower prices. Let’s copy Boston’s Downtown Crossing urban renewal blueprint. Let’s get a freaking Trader Joe’s at the librarylot. Great fornew folks, greatforourinner city families who so desperately need to have access to fresh produce and otherhealthy foods.