Monthly Archives: March 2013

Preview: Worcester City Council (March 19)

This week’s meeting: billboards, city census, CitySquare, slot machines, litigation, SWIP, and possibly the Theater District Master Plan. Agenda.

  • Ad company wants to make I-290 billboard digital: “Transmitting correspondence received from Lamar Advertising notifying of their intention to submit applications to the Outdoor Advertising Board requesting to convert from static to digital on its west facing billboard structure on I-290 located at 28 Garden St. and on both faces of the billboard structure located on I-290 near Route 146 and 45 McKeon Rd.
  • City Census and Absentee Ballots: Every year the City expects you to mail them a census form, or reply via their website, telling them you have not moved and should still be counted as an active voter at your address. According to a report from the City Clerk that will be presente to the Council, in recent years somewhere between a quarter and a half of Worcester’s voters have been on the “inactive” list. Another report shows that somewhere between 1% and 5% of Worcester votes are absentee.
  • CitySquare/Notre Dame: Economic Development Committee is recommending that the old Notre Dame Church and property be allowed to be added to “the CitySquare Priority Development Site”.
  • Gambling: A company wants to build a slot machine casino and hotel on the old Wyman-Gordon property near the Green Island neighborhood. There is lots of opposition, some from people who think this sort of gambling enterprise will hurt the city, some from people concerned that a new hotel there would damage the chances of getting a fancy new hotel downtown. There are three City Council items on this, including one proposing public hearings, and another (from Konnie Lukes) wanting to make it clear that anti-casino comments are allowed at these hearings.
  • Litigation: Looks like the Council might recess to a non-public Executive Session to discuss “pending litigation.”
  • South Worcester Industrial Park: For more than 18 years now, the powers-that-be have been trying to get someone to do something with the large SWIP parcel of land. The latest: the Economic Development Committee recommends that parcels within SWIP be designated “Specific Economic Opportunity Areas”.
  • The Theater District Master Plan: Tracy Novick has the details. This was introduced but tabled at the last Council meeting. It will likely be discussed this week. If you have an opinion about whether the Library parking lot should be turned into a hockey rink or something potentially more interesting, today would be a good day to contact your City Councilors. The plan will likely be sent to a City Council committee for more discussion. Nicole Apostola notes that the public hearings had almost no effect on the (possibly) final wording of the plan.