Worcester, can our urban core turn the corner?

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday, while running errands, I saw this heap of garbage on the corner of Endicott and Millbury streets, behind a restaurant no less:

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Disgusting. Demoralizing.

Across the street in front of Our Lady of Czetchowa/St. Mary’s Church parking lot – not the Ward/Richland streets side but the Endicott Street side – I saw more shit: a mattress box spring leaning against a fence, a tall garbage can overflowing with garbage and much more trash strewn on the surrounding sidewalk. A mini landfill! I did not take a photo cuz there was a tough guy putting more crap there, and you know how that goes here in the hood …

The pastor of St. Mary’s, a Polish priest, who has ZERO interest in the neighborhood his church is smack dab in the middle of so he is ALSO PART OF THE PROBLEM, has refused to cooperate with the City of Worcester in any way – will not allow city workers to install a video camera on church property to catch the illegal dumpers, so they can be fined or at least shamed at their pig-pile ways.

This “pastor” will not even allow the Worcester Public Library book mobile LIBBY to park in his precious church parking lot. But he does allow LIBBY to idle there for his St. Mary’s School students – his church’s mediocre, dying parish school.

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Public library for private school kids. No public library for Worcester inner-city kids! One of the school’s marketing points, for parents: IT’S A SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

Nope! With all the garbage, junkie used syringes and guns found on Ward Street NEXT DOOR TO ST. MARY’S, St. Mary’s School is located in one of Worcester’s least SAFE neighborhoods.

The Polish pastor does NOTHING to safeguard his students because he does NOTHING to improve the neighborhood.

Here’s his PRECIOUS parking lot in the middle of being repaved:

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Then a quick drive by the old PIP in Main South where, a few weeks ago, I saw this homeless recovering addict lying in a nearby doorway in hospital scrubs and yellow socks:

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This time, yesterday, at the corner of Main and Charlton streets, the hood HOT SPOT while the old PIP wet homeless shelter existed for so many years I saw: 15 or so people in a roiling urban dystopia – hookers, guys and gals watching drug deals going down, a guy pretending to butt fuck a lady against the wall, people sitting on the curb, people sitting on overturned milk crates, many on the phone, many dazed and confused, most all looking to score junk, crack, pussy … a carnival of urban despair/violence … a 10 minute walk from Worcester City Hall, the downtown city leaders are working so feverishly to resuscitate.

I drive by the area every day. THIS IS THE WAY IT ALWAYS LOOKS. … THIS IS EXACTLY THE WAY THIS INFAMOUS CORNER LOOKED WHEN THE PIP WAS OPEN. THE PIP WAS BLAMED FOR THE URBAN DYSFUNCTION. But the PIP has been gone for a few years now AND YET THE SCENE LOOKS EXACTLY THE SAME!

How can we save the inner-city when the inner-city refuses to save itself? On any level. Even if that means throwing your trash into a trash barrel or NOT kicking in your back or front door just cuz you want to?

Uncivilized behavior has created an uncivilized urban environment.

How are we going to take back our urban core, Worcester?