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.

2 thoughts on “Preview: Worcester City Council (March 19)

  1. Thank you Mike for sending these updates every week.

    I know how Nicole feels about being ignored. Worcester retirees were ignored big time on Coalition Bargaining when we petitioned the city council. The item was filed by Councilor Lukes and after a year when Councilor Germain attempted to take it to a discussion and off the table, it was voted to keep it tabled. Eventually it was filed in the basket by a Councilor Clancey induced vote of the Council. Interestingly, Councilor Eddy told one of the union leaders at the meeting that he would vote for Coalition Bargaining if it came off the table. Then he took his first vote to not allow it to come off the table.

    In the 2-3 years Coalition committee members sat at council meetings we learned that
    residents who come to the council are dismissed either by the council requesting a report from the city manager that is never forthcoming or asked for by the council.

    I introduced myself to Joan Crowell before she formed the AWARE coalition at a City Council meeting where she did a presentation of four city properties with faulty assessments. We met for coffee the next morning and she said to me , “I thought I had the smoking gun.” She did and I told her don’t take it personally. They ignore everyone.

    This is a suggestion but the people who are interested in Worcester politics should work together to change the city council make-up. Mrs. Lukes had been there much too long and will get a sizable pension when she does leave. I would love to talk to Nicole. You can give her my number (508 853-6357) if she wants to contact me.

  2. I agreed with the above statement
    “This is a suggestion but the people who are interested in Worcester politics should work together to change the city council make-up”
    but can understand how it could be difficult to set up because of these stonger willed people’s various issues and how to make it a more unified approach to have complaints heard more effectively rather then having these interested parties becomming more frustrated on not having their resonable complaints addressed other than in suits,state intervention or more important just getting frustrated and moving.
    Perhaps a column devoted to this(how to set this up so that it would take a limited time on these people and then they can decide how to proceed) on someone blogs like Nicole’s?? for instance
    just a thought

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