The Canal District’s secret meetings

By Rosalie Tirella

I spent the first 19 years of my life in Green Island. My mother grew up in Green Island – a great gal in a great Polish neighborhood – and spent 65 years there! I know/knew the neighborhood like the back of my hand and I love it like no other Worcester ‘hood. Jim Lukes, City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ hubby, grew up in the area, too. His dad had a diner on Millbury Street and the family still owns property in Green Island. District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller represents the neighborhood. And none us – not a person! – can make our way into Allen Fletcher’s secret “Canal District” (the yuppie monikor for Green Island) Taskforce meetings.

That’s right! Since Fletcher bought the old Ash Street school off Green Street several years ago, he has decided that he will remake the district in his own bony-ass image – or to his, and his supporters’, liking. Anyone with a different point of view, anyone with any sort of question, even folks with longstanding ties to the Green Island neighborhood like me or Jim Lukes, are not invited to play in Fletcher’s reinder games. We don’t even know when and where the meetings are!! (somewhere in Green Island, I’m guessing!)

So the men and women who own the new yuppie bars on Millbury or Water Street are in. So are the new owners of the yuppie restaurants. They are, like Fletcher, bit by bit gentrifying the old neighborhood – and they love that because it means money for them. God help you if you want to create affordable housing in the distrcit or tell them how YOU would like to see the millions of federal bucks used.

Congressman Jim McGovern (a good guy whom I like but a guy who is totally unaware of the fact that he is swimming with sharks) just got Green Island (the Canal Distrcit) millions of dollars in federal funds. Well, guess what? On the eve that Fletcher and Co. held their SECRET meeting to decide how all that cash will be spent – not a word of the meeting’s time was given to the media. There were no postings at the Green Island Neighborhood Center. No postings at the local haunts. Just emails to fellow yuppie gentrifiers. Hell, Green Island doesn’t even have a fuckin’ CDC to keep “the little people” informed. So on that night, Fletcher (who as a retired multi-millionaire has nothing better to do than play in the Canal District – and play games with people who actually have to work for a living) held a secret meeting to decide how to spend millions of fed $$$$.

Turns our that all the millions of dollars will be used to tear up the sidewalks on Water Street and put in new ones – even though the city of Worcester’s DPW did that a few years ago to help the fledgling district along. (Up until gentrification – when people like my mom and grandmother lived there – the Water Street municipal parking lot had NEVER EVER EVER been repaved, etc. A few years ago DPW head Bob Moylan had it re-done and looking brand new – along with Water Street and some Millbury Street sidewalks (where the new yuppie bars were). But now all that work must be torn up so it can all be redone again! And cost the govt thousands and thousands of dollars!

IT’S INSANE THAT ALL THIS WORK WILL BE DONE AGAIN JUST BECAUSE, AS Moylan told City Councilor Paul Clancy, who asked him at a recent city council meeting, why do we have to re-do the streets and sidewalks in the Canal District when we just repaved them? Can’t we use the fed’s dough to improve other streets in the neighborhood? Moylan’s reply: THINGS NEED TO LOOK CONSISTENT. The govt is stipulating that we use the money this way.

Yup. That’s what Moylan – the bureacrat said. The feds are stipulating that the $ can ONLY be used in THAT WAY – every sidewalk/street must look exactly like every other street.

Clancy settled for this utter bull shit.

City Councilor Haller had something else on her mind that meeting: She said, next time the Canal Distrcit has a meeting, please ask them TO NOT SCHEDULE IT ON THE SAME NIGHT AS THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING. In other words, make it possible so she, the nieghborhood’s city councilor, can be there and have some in-put.

Barb, Fletcher and Co. did this on purpose!

Why can’t Fletcher die and decrease Worcetser’s surplus population of dunder heads?

Then maybe Green Island can really blossom and be the people’s neighborhood, not the repository for a multi-million-dollar FAKE CANAL built with millions of federal money (pork!), upon which Allen Fletcher can paddle his stupid canoe. (HE does this NOW! Every summer when a teeny fake canal is set up on Harding Street for a festival) This year I want to jump in and drown him! I don’t care if the fake, teeny canal is only 11 inches deep!

Why does Fletcher shut out people like Sue Moynagh, a neighborhood activist who lives on nearby Harrison Street (her whole life) and who has lead scores of Union Hill/Green Island neighborhood cleanups and crime watches? I have photos of Sue up to her neck in poopy diapers, used syringes and all sorts of crap that Fletcher would never get near – never mind pick up and throw in a garbage can. Sue told me she went to one meeting or two and then the Canal Task Force powers that be stopped inviting her – and she was OUT of the loop. Just like theat. She told me they didn’t want her around. She felt hurt. Sue, Fletcher’s clique didn’t want you around because you don’t rubber stamp every cock-eyed plan they hatch.

Green Island neighborhood activist Lorrain Laurie – I have known Lorraine since I was fucking 10 years old, so she knows how I feel – will not tell Sue or me when the meetings are! Even when I ask her! Shame on you, Lorraine, for kissing Fletcher’s bony ass! You are not IN with the IN Crowd. They just want you to shut up (I love Lorraine, but she can have a big mouth) – and they figure the best way to do that is have you at all their secret meetings.

This is my neighborhood! This is Sue Moynagh’s neighborhood! This is Jim Lukes’ neighborhood. This is Barb Haller’s district! We are more deeply rooted in Green Island than Fletcher and his pals ever will be. Yet we can’t be apart of it. And we don’t know what Fletcher and Company is doing with federal -public, OUR – money!

This has got to be illegal.

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