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Old 05-22-2015, 02:22 PM   #81
CSTH
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Re: Worcester Improvements

**whistles slowly and raises eyebrows**

That sounds fugly. And flammable.

....Steve Wynn, please call your office....
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:26 PM   #82
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Re: Worcester Improvements

its a shame, i saw it coming years before, but this entire district has gorgeous old buildings that are biting the dust one by one. truly sad, since in a city that is sliced to ribbons by huge roads, viaducts, railroads, etc, this was one area that felt cohesive and intimate - at least architecturally speaking. in another era or city with more money, it could really be turned into something very cool... but it's worcester, so... not so much.
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Old 05-25-2015, 01:38 AM   #83
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
its a shame, i saw it coming years before, but this entire district has gorgeous old buildings that are biting the dust one by one. truly sad, since in a city that is sliced to ribbons by huge roads, viaducts, railroads, etc, this was one area that felt cohesive and intimate - at least architecturally speaking. in another era or city with more money, it could really be turned into something very cool... but it's worcester, so... not so much.
There's still hope for the city, but that area (Main St. from Cambridge St. to Madison St.) has become a tough neighborhood. It's a shame. My mother grew up in that area, and my family and I just spent some time at my grandmother's three decker putting up porch screens (custom made by my grandfather) and her porch has a great view of University Park (which is just across from Clark). It used to be a working class neighborhood. People who didn't necessarily have alot, but took pride in where they lived. Now gangs and drugs have moved in. Now my grandmother and a few people who lived in the area all their lives are the sole holdouts.

Worcester is a city of hard knocks for sure, but I keep thinking individual projects here and there could really benefit the city. But everyone wants that one magic development (e.g. the Courthouse, CitySquare), but I look east to the state capital from my home in Webster Square. One development doesn't change the landscape - it adds to the character of the neighborhood. (There are obviously exceptions to that every now and then)

What Worcester needs is not necessarily economic developments in and of themselves - it needs a perception change. We need residents, politicians, and city admin to step up and say "no more" to the idea that Worcester is a second rate city that acts like a town. The Heart of the Commonwealth is the economic powerhouse that drives Central Mass. Without it, we have nothing but farms out here. We need a perception of "F*ck yeah, we can do it," not being debbie downers and nitpicking over development contracts because they may not involve local labor. I'm no sociologist - I'm just a young Worcester resident that really wants this city to thrive. And the way to do that is, IMO:
  • Get people out of their cars and onto the sidewalks perusing shops, and spending money locally and not in a f*cking Wal-Mart or other big box complex
  • Put food trucks back into play. (City ordinance all but banned them years ago). Perception is half the battle, and anything to get people seen on the sidewalks, helps to at least get the 'live' portion of "Live Work Play" seem somewhat doable.
  • Put in a systemic city-wide road diet plan and reconnect old streets. McGrath Blvd., I'm looking at you. Same goes for Heywood St., Lincoln St., and other dragways across the city. Myrtle St. used to go under the railroad tracks and connect to that (now dead) area on the other side. I'll post the historical aerials here when I have time later.
  • Increase visibility of public transportation and emphasize it's values. The farther Worcester can get from being an autotopia, the better!
  • Build a better bike infrastructure. Bike lanes here and there are only haphazard and not a useful network. Maybe even bring in something like the Hubway system to the city. WalkBike Worcester is the main advocate here, but we need it coming from City Hall, not just Central Mass Regional Planning
  • Make Worcester a true College Town. Right now it's just a city with colleges in it, several of which are walled off campuses
  • Figure out WTF they're doing with the Worcester Auditorium. It could easily be another events hall in the city, if they bothered trying.
  • Create a true theatre district, not developing an area off of just one theatre, but there's another one sitting vacant not too far from the Hanover, and it has untapped potential.
  • Make city development look like they fit in a city and not plucked from some suburb somewhere. In my opinion, there's too much surface parking available in Worcester. When the parking lots are bigger than the stores, there's a damn problem.

......and that's just the short list. But there is hope for the Heart of the Commonwealth......so long as our pessimism doesn't beat it out of us.
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Old 05-25-2015, 01:43 AM   #84
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Re: Worcester Improvements

That reminds me, I forgot to post this:

Quote:
Worcester’s Shrewsbury Street gaining professional office space, ReadyMED

By: Walter Bird Jr.

A new four-story office building is headed for Shrewsbury Street, according to Gary Vecchio, president of the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association (SSNA).

The building is planned by Dr. Amjad Bahnassi, a Worcester-based psychiatrist with offices at 202 Russell St.

Vecchio announced Bahnassi's plans at a SSNA meeting Thursday night, May 21, where he revealed it would be built next to Fidelity Bank at 465 Shrewbury St., near the intersection of Route 9 (Belmont Street) and a couple buildings down from McDonald's, which is located at 475 Shrewsbury St. The building would house professional offices, Vecchio said.

The plans, which Vecchio said require the approval of a variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals, call for a 19,039-square-foot building with 38 parking spaces in front of the building. Under the current zoning ordinance, the building would be required to be build with the parking lot behind it, necessitating a variance in order to place the lot in front.

The plan also requires approval from the Planning Board. A meeting is scheduled for June 3.

Area residents on Thursday were also updated on plans for a new ReadyMED by Reliant Medical Group on Shrewsbury Street. It will be the fifth such facility in the area. Reliant already has ReadyMED offices, which provide non-emergency urgent care services, in Shrewbury, Auburn, Milford and Hudson. The latter site opened this week.
FULL ARTICLE
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:29 PM   #85
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Plan underway to link Worcester's hiking trails from one end of city to the other

By Michael D. Kane

WORCESTER -- Hikers will soon have a marked trail on which to cross the city, and avid park users will have a guide by which to find new hangouts.

Park Spirit and the Greater Worcester Land Trust are working on a plan to map and sign trails throughout the city in a manner that will allow hikers to seamlessly hike from park to park.

Ultimately, the East-West Hiking Trail will allow people to traverse the entire city, according to Rick Miller, of Park Spirit, the non-profit group that advocates for the cities parks and green spaces.

On Friday, members of both groups chartered what is known as the central core of the trail, from Coes Pond to Institute Park. The idea, Miller noted, was to check the condition of the trails, and to see where they cross roads and city blocks.

"It will give Worcester a unique, urban walking experience," Miller said.

Some of the trails have already been marked by the land trust. Some are already routinely maintained, such as Columbus Park, which has a volunteer assess conditions every day.

It is hoped that, by using workers from the Summer Work Program, the rest will be completed in the next few months, Miller said.

The trail will not be not completely contiguous green space, however. For example, the walk from Logan Field and Patches reservoir to Coes Pond requires using the sidewalk around one side of the pond to reach the reservoir, Miller said.

Similar tracks across city streets and backyards will mark the connective tissue to the entire project, according to Colin Novick. of the Greater Worcester Land Trust.

"The neat part is, the gaps between the parks are really small, less than a block or two in some places," Novick said.

If followed, the path will guide walkers from the Cascades to Green Hill Park and Lake Quinsigamond. An average walker, traveling 2.5 to 3 miles per hour, will cross the city in three to five hours, Novick said.
FULL ARTICLE
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:31 PM   #86
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
There's still hope for the city, but that area (Main St. from Cambridge St. to Madison St.) has become a tough neighborhood. It's a shame. My mother grew up in that area, and my family and I just spent some time at my grandmother's three decker putting up porch screens (custom made by my grandfather) and her porch has a great view of University Park (which is just across from Clark). It used to be a working class neighborhood. People who didn't necessarily have alot, but took pride in where they lived. Now gangs and drugs have moved in. Now my grandmother and a few people who lived in the area all their lives are the sole holdouts.

Worcester is a city of hard knocks for sure, but I keep thinking individual projects here and there could really benefit the city. But everyone wants that one magic development (e.g. the Courthouse, CitySquare), but I look east to the state capital from my home in Webster Square. One development doesn't change the landscape - it adds to the character of the neighborhood. (There are obviously exceptions to that every now and then)

What Worcester needs is not necessarily economic developments in and of themselves - it needs a perception change. We need residents, politicians, and city admin to step up and say "no more" to the idea that Worcester is a second rate city that acts like a town. The Heart of the Commonwealth is the economic powerhouse that drives Central Mass. Without it, we have nothing but farms out here. We need a perception of "F*ck yeah, we can do it," not being debbie downers and nitpicking over development contracts because they may not involve local labor. I'm no sociologist - I'm just a young Worcester resident that really wants this city to thrive. And the way to do that is, IMO:
  • Get people out of their cars and onto the sidewalks perusing shops, and spending money locally and not in a f*cking Wal-Mart or other big box complex
  • Put food trucks back into play. (City ordinance all but banned them years ago). Perception is half the battle, and anything to get people seen on the sidewalks, helps to at least get the 'live' portion of "Live Work Play" seem somewhat doable.
  • Put in a systemic city-wide road diet plan and reconnect old streets. McGrath Blvd., I'm looking at you. Same goes for Heywood St., Lincoln St., and other dragways across the city. Myrtle St. used to go under the railroad tracks and connect to that (now dead) area on the other side. I'll post the historical aerials here when I have time later.
  • Increase visibility of public transportation and emphasize it's values. The farther Worcester can get from being an autotopia, the better!
  • Build a better bike infrastructure. Bike lanes here and there are only haphazard and not a useful network. Maybe even bring in something like the Hubway system to the city. WalkBike Worcester is the main advocate here, but we need it coming from City Hall, not just Central Mass Regional Planning
  • Make Worcester a true College Town. Right now it's just a city with colleges in it, several of which are walled off campuses
  • Figure out WTF they're doing with the Worcester Auditorium. It could easily be another events hall in the city, if they bothered trying.
  • Create a true theatre district, not developing an area off of just one theatre, but there's another one sitting vacant not too far from the Hanover, and it has untapped potential.
  • Make city development look like they fit in a city and not plucked from some suburb somewhere. In my opinion, there's too much surface parking available in Worcester. When the parking lots are bigger than the stores, there's a damn problem.

......and that's just the short list. But there is hope for the Heart of the Commonwealth......so long as our pessimism doesn't beat it out of us.
Well, people may keep hoping for a magic bullet that doesnt exist, but that big factory neighborhood off Beacon, even though it probably is unrealistic given the condition of the buildings, is one of the rare areas of old-building density that didnt get demo'ed to death in urban renewal, highway construction and other reasons why downtown is filled with vacant lots. So it's unfortunate that they are allowing these brick beauties to bite the dust. If this little cluster existed on the fringe of a more affluent city, it could be a great lofts project. But not here.

Focusing on districts is, I think, the way to go. The Green Island area and branding seems to be having some modest success (and incidentally that's another area where some good old urban density remains).

And yes, trying to make the city more of a college town is a great idea. That means focusing on the urban areas, building a restaurant and cafe culture, and making the streets nice places to be on foot and on bike.

That also means connectivity is important. It's great that Front St is being opened up, but wayfinding is seriously lacking in W-town. And if youre a biker or a walker, good luck... they need bike lanes, road diets, and an overall culture change. It can and probably eventually will happen, but someone needs to be driving the change.

The city govt is sadly, for the most part, a pretty backward piece of central Mass conservativism and idiocy, I am sorry to say. They need to sweep those idiots out and get a strong mayor. I will tell you right now - to be taken seriously, a city needs a frontman; the mayors of other cities are known just because of who they are, and that lends identity to the city they represent. Worcester badly needs this. Then at least there would be a figurehead around which the public and the media could rally around, or against. Do that, and sooner or later some bright young enterprising individual will seize the helm and enact decisive and meaningful change. But without a strong leader, the city is doomed to having a mediocre govt that nobody pays attention to... and in W'town's case, a generally insular, mostly white group that serves only a subsector of the population.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:07 PM   #87
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
Well, people may keep hoping for a magic bullet that doesnt exist, but that big factory neighborhood off Beacon, even though it probably is unrealistic given the condition of the buildings, is one of the rare areas of old-building density that didnt get demo'ed to death in urban renewal, highway construction and other reasons why downtown is filled with vacant lots. So it's unfortunate that they are allowing these brick beauties to bite the dust. If this little cluster existed on the fringe of a more affluent city, it could be a great lofts project. But not here.
Unfortunately, more and more are biting the dust. I swung by the Junction Shops development and the other mill under development on Grand St. - both have taken out quite a big chunk out of the other mills, solely for parking.

Quote:
Focusing on districts is, I think, the way to go. The Green Island area and branding seems to be having some modest success (and incidentally that's another area where some good old urban density remains).
I agree with you on that.

Quote:
And yes, trying to make the city more of a college town is a great idea. That means focusing on the urban areas, building a restaurant and cafe culture, and making the streets nice places to be on foot and on bike.
Another point I agree with you on.

Quote:
That also means connectivity is important. It's great that Front St is being opened up, but wayfinding is seriously lacking in W-town. And if youre a biker or a walker, good luck... they need bike lanes, road diets, and an overall culture change. It can and probably eventually will happen, but someone needs to be driving the change.
1 small point here - Worcester is implementing a wayfinding program.



Quote:
The $3-million Worcester Wayfinding Initiative, which will see seven years of planning rolled out over the next two years, is hardly primitive, but there is an old-school element to the navigational system the city will put in place throughout the city. Modern technology will blend with easily-seen signs and decorative fixtures to create a comprehensive identification and wayfinding grid whose aim is to make it much easier both for visitors and locals to find their way around Worcester. The effort, a collaboration of local and state agencies that will introduce 275 wayfinding installations and 24 public art components when all is said and done, was formally unveiled Monday, July 7 outside The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts on Main Street.

Given the art component that will be included in the project, as well as the fact that an example of the navigational tools stands proudly in front of the public garden outside the theatre, the venue was a fitting choice to announce the initiative, which is the first of its kind, not only in Massachusetts but New England.
FULL ARTICLE



Quote:
The city govt is sadly, for the most part, a pretty backward piece of central Mass conservativism and idiocy, I am sorry to say. They need to sweep those idiots out and get a strong mayor. I will tell you right now - to be taken seriously, a city needs a frontman; the mayors of other cities are known just because of who they are, and that lends identity to the city they represent. Worcester badly needs this. Then at least there would be a figurehead around which the public and the media could rally around, or against. Do that, and sooner or later some bright young enterprising individual will seize the helm and enact decisive and meaningful change. But without a strong leader, the city is doomed to having a mediocre govt that nobody pays attention to... and in W'town's case, a generally insular, mostly white group that serves only a subsector of the population.
*slow clap*

After O'Brien left, there was talk about going to a strong mayor, but once again, pessimism got in the way......there's a current city council member running for mayor by the name of Mike Gaffney - and he's had a fresh view on things that I haven't heard in a looooong time. But this isn't a place to get into politics. Augustus has also had a bit more success than previous city managers, but yes, a strong mayor is needed. I also agree about your last statement - although I would argue that in order for that to happen, people have to give a sh*t about local politics, which has waned off out here over the years.....
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:10 AM   #88
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Cool to hear about the way finding... And actually, I like the way differnt neighborhoods have different symbols on the street signs... Though that's not really way finding, but it is cool.

Downtown probably is the most critical piece at this point - although I hate that shrewsbury st is still a highway it looks much better and is a decent, modern enough looking corridor connecting Umass with the train station. The developments by the Washington sq rotary (that's the name, right?) will cement the link to downtown. Some new dorms by city hall and more city square construction... And then you'll have a fairly cohesive zone right there. The next focus ought to be linking green isle and the area by Coney Island hot dogs to downtown. Keep radiating outward.

As a side note, my favorite little node on worcester is where the corner grille is. Great little places there, good atmosphere.
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:25 PM   #89
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
Cool to hear about the way finding... And actually, I like the way differnt neighborhoods have different symbols on the street signs... Though that's not really way finding, but it is cool.

Downtown probably is the most critical piece at this point - although I hate that shrewsbury st is still a highway it looks much better and is a decent, modern enough looking corridor connecting Umass with the train station. The developments by the Washington sq rotary (that's the name, right?) will cement the link to downtown. Some new dorms by city hall and more city square construction... And then you'll have a fairly cohesive zone right there. The next focus ought to be linking green isle and the area by Coney Island hot dogs to downtown. Keep radiating outward.
Agreed. Once the core is reestablished, improvements can keep radiating out. Shrewsbury St., really needs some traffic calming measures - add bike lanes, remove the median, and narrow the street width. Maybe even remove the outer lane and widen the sidewalks.

Compare the aerials of 1938 to 2011. (Coney Island location circled in red)

1938:



2011:



We went from a neighborhood to parking lots.

Quote:
As a side note, my favorite little node on worcester is where the corner grille is. Great little places there, good atmosphere.
Ah, Tatnuck.......good neighborhood full of money and NIMBY's. There's a few streets over there that are literally footpaths.
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:43 PM   #90
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Re: Worcester Improvements

thats an amazing graphic. wow. really one of the worst destructions of any city. and this doesnt even really capture what 290 did.
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:57 PM   #91
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post

After O'Brien left, there was talk about going to a strong mayor, but once again, pessimism got in the way......there's a current city council member running for mayor by the name of Mike Gaffney - and he's had a fresh view on things that I haven't heard in a looooong time. But this isn't a place to get into politics. Augustus has also had a bit more success than previous city managers, but yes, a strong mayor is needed. I also agree about your last statement - although I would argue that in order for that to happen, people have to give a sh*t about local politics, which has waned off out here over the years.....
I would also point out that this issue of whether Worcester's residential and commercial tax levy should be identical or whether it should persist as dual rate, as it is in Boston and many of the so-called "gateway" cities, seems to suck an awful lot of oxygen out of the overall political atmosphere out there... here's just one encapsulation out of many you can find online:

http://worcestermag.com/2015/01/15/s...ax-rates/30601
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:16 PM   #92
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
thats an amazing graphic. wow. really one of the worst destructions of any city. and this doesnt even really capture what 290 did.
HistoricAerials.com is one of the best resources I've ever found here on AB.

For those now curious about 290.......

Turn on compare and hit 1938 on the right hand side. It is amazing what they did to demolish downtown.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:49 PM   #93
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
HistoricAerials.com is one of the best resources I've ever found here on AB.

For those now curious about 290.......

Turn on compare and hit 1938 on the right hand side. It is amazing what they did to demolish downtown.
That's actually quite depressing.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:57 PM   #94
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Re: Worcester Improvements

interesting... it always seemed like Providence St was a 'legit' street that had some importance, and was very strange how it just petered out as a dead end against the highway. didnt realize that 290 was plopped right on top of it and that the original road appears to have been a main north-south throughfare that was ultimately contiguous with the wash sq rotary and summer street...

my last place there's yard included the ROW of the spurline streetcar that went from union station down to the lake, back when there was a big park on the worcester side, too. you can still see the ROW on the aerial, and my neighbor's yard still had the tracks in it. my landlord dug em up and had the old tracks sitting in a giant shed in the backyard, that incidentally was an old ice house for when they would take ice out of the lake and then peddle it up and down route 9... but also transport it for storage on that streetcar line.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:29 PM   #95
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by DBM View Post
I would also point out that this issue of whether Worcester's residential and commercial tax levy should be identical or whether it should persist as dual rate, as it is in Boston and many of the so-called "gateway" cities, seems to suck an awful lot of oxygen out of the overall political atmosphere out there... here's just one encapsulation out of many you can find online:

http://worcestermag.com/2015/01/15/s...ax-rates/30601
There is a shift towards a single tax rate coming out of city hall, but word is that it'll be a slow gradual shift over a decade or so.

This discussion not only sucks up the political sphere, but also puts business versus citizens - a no win situation.

I think I posted something a few pages back about this, somewhere around pages 2 or 3.

Last edited by WormtownNative; 05-29-2015 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:23 PM   #96
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Urban Renewal pretty much killed Worcester. It would be a very different city if the downtown had been preserved. I'm not sure much can be done to "fix" there... the city made some stupid urban planning decisions with the Centrum and the Medical City projects too.

Quote:
The city govt is sadly, for the most part, a pretty backward piece of central Mass conservativism and idiocy, I am sorry to say. They need to sweep those idiots out and get a strong mayor. I will tell you right now - to be taken seriously, a city needs a frontman; the mayors of other cities are known just because of who they are, and that lends identity to the city they represent. Worcester badly needs this. Then at least there would be a figurehead around which the public and the media could rally around, or against. Do that, and sooner or later some bright young enterprising individual will seize the helm and enact decisive and meaningful change. But without a strong leader, the city is doomed to having a mediocre govt that nobody pays attention to... and in W'town's case, a generally insular, mostly white group that serves only a subsector of the population.
Yes. City councils pretty much guarantee mediocrity. Overturning that stupid political decision is going to take a monumental political shift and a real grassroots campaign that I'm not sure Worcester has the energy for.
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:44 PM   #97
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
Urban Renewal pretty much killed Worcester. It would be a very different city if the downtown had been preserved. I'm not sure much can be done to "fix" there... the city made some stupid urban planning decisions with the Centrum and the Medical City projects too.
On the bright side though - it gives you plenty of space to correct your past mistakes.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:23 PM   #98
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Quote:
Main South bike path construction begins

By Tom Quinn

The first domino in a plan to kickstart revitalization of the Main South neighborhood fell today, as city and state officials broke ground on the Gardner Kilby Hammond bike path.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern secured $2.9 million in a federal earmark in December last year to fund the lighted bike path and roadway improvements to Gardner and Kilby Streets. Improvements will include street light upgrades, sidewalk replacement, curb resetting, roadway mill and overlay, pavement repairs and additional crosswalks.

A retaining wall will also be constructed as part of the project, which will allow Clark University to build a 7.5 acre athletic field that will be shared with the nearby Boys and Girls Club.

“Today is a truly exciting day. This bike path and the sports field that will follow it are so important to the Main South neighborhood,” McGovern said in a press release. “This project will bring more access to green space and outdoor recreation opportunities for families in this neighborhood and is just another step toward a rejuvenated Main South.”
FULL ARTICLE
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Old 05-30-2015, 11:16 AM   #99
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Why was Tainter St closed in the first place?
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Old 05-30-2015, 09:00 PM   #100
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Why was Tainter St closed in the first place?
I blame incompetency, but in reality, I have no clue.
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