Preview: City Council agenda (September 1)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6pm. The agenda is here. Nothing on the agenda in reaction to the accidental SWAT raid, but plenty of other items. Now that summer is over we are moving back to a mostly weekly schedule, so these agendas will be shorter.

  • Quarterly Economic Development Report: The City Administration has some updates on the Homewood Suites Hotel to be developed in Washington Square; bids for environmental remediation of the Old Courthouse; a reportback on the Worcester Local Kickoff Weekend; a report on the ongoing success of the Out to Lunch Concert Series; and a report on improvements being made in Union Hill.
  • CitySquare: The current situation: “The construction of the underground parking garage is ongoing and a crane is on site erecting steel. It is anticipated that the portion of the garage, bounded by Eaton Place, Front Street and Mercantile Street, will be open to the public in late 2015. The portion of the garage underneath the hotel parcel will remain closed as the hotel is constructed above it, commencing in calendar year 2016. Ownership of the vacant parcel directly across from the WRTA Bus Hub has transferred from CitySquare II Development Co. LLC to Roseland Properties. Roseland has received Definitive Site Plan approval from the Planning Board to construct 370 residential units with 12,000 SF of retail, and anticipates starting construction in Fall 2015. The Hotel Developer continues to finalize its design and intends to file an application for Definitive Site Plan approval from the Planning Board in the short term.”
  • Planet Coleman: The always-civically-active Bill Coleman has seven petitions on this week’s agenda (not to mention an old one coming back from the Parking Committee). These are about: a mural on Walpole St; a non-binding ballot question on whether 17-year-olds should be able to vote in city elections; a non-binding ballot question on Common Core; the City Council adding a City Council Standing Committee on Ethnic Affairs and Concerns of People of Color; a question (on behalf of downtown shop owner Rajesh Patel) about the economic impact of people not walking around downtown; a request that the mayor’s salary be raised; getting a plaque at Worcester Technical High School honoring the Class of 2014 and Obama’s speech at their commencement.
  • Dirt Bikes and ATVs: Billy Breault has an item asking for a new law that would let the police seize ATVs and dirt bikes “being illegally driven on city streets and in city parks.”
  • Recycling Bins: Rachel Tadmor is asking for bins to be placed “on the Common outside City Hall.”
  • Bike Lane: Jennifer Chau & Chau Tran of Southeast Asian Coalition have a petition for a bike lane on Walpole St.
  • The Knife Attack Case: Ron Madnick has an item asking the City Manager to investigate the WPD in the wake of a convicted knife attacker’s conviction being vacated after the state Supreme Judicial Court decided the WPD used “impermissibly coercive tactics” in interrogating him. There will be a new trial, and the evidence from that interrogation won’t be admissible.
  • Boards and Commissions: Thomas Conroy and Matthew Foster have been reappointed to the Worcester Arts Council. The Council will be voting to appoint Winifred Octave to the Election Commission, Anthony Salvidio to the License Commission, and George Valeri to the Zoning Board of Appeals (a reappointment).
  • Finance Items: As an experiment, this week I’ll note all finance items more than $100,000: $600,000.00 be transferred from Reserve Revenue Account–Greenwood Street Landfill, and be appropriated to Blackstone Gateway Park, to allow for the payment of current and future obligations associated with the design, permitting, and construction of the park project; accept with gratitude numerous small donations to the Worcester Public Library in the amount of $85.00 (ok this is less than 100k); accept a MassWorks Grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the Quinsigamond Avenue – Gateway I, Phase I Project, in an amount not to exceed $2,000,000.00; accept a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in the amount of $1,000,000.00; $413,500.00 transferred from Contingency to Court Judgements; $500,000.00 transferred from DCU Improvement Fund, and be appropriated to Promotion & Tourism, to provide funding for Destination Worcester; $413,401.00 be transferred from the following accounts: $147,000 from Account #750-92000, DCU Center Ordinary Maintenance, and $266,401 from Account #750-94000, DCU Center Debt Service, and be appropriated to the following accounts: $147,000 to Account #75S503-92000, DCU Center Ordinary Maintenance, and $266,401 to Account #75S503-94000, DCU Center Debt Service; $164,315.56 be transferred from various accounts and be appropriated to various accounts, to make adjustments to City accounts, to balance the Fiscal Year 2015 budget; adoption of a Loan Order in the amount of $7,012,100.00 be appropriated to fund four building improvement projects of the Worcester Public Schools.
  • Trains: Councilor Palmieri has an item asking the Mayor and City Manager to work with our state representatives to get some nonstop trains between Worcester and Boston.
  • Skate Park: Councilor Rosen wants a “state-of-the-art skate park for skateboarding, BMX, scooter, wheelchair and inline skating” somewhere around the old Beaver Brook Park swimming pool.
  • Binienda Beach: Councilor Rosen wants the beach at Coes Pond named the “John J. Binienda Memorial Beach” in honor of our late state rep.
  • Municipal Unions: There will be some changes in salaries of members of Local 490, NAGE (Clerks) and Occupational Group W – Miscellaneous (Intake Workers).
  • Food Trucks: The latest food truck ordinance will allow, as a pilot program, some food trucks to be at some parks some of the time.
  • Cityscape: Coughlin Electrial Contractors wants to make improvements toGarden St. from Prescott St. to the far entrance of Coughlin Electrical Contractors” and pay for them. Below: How it looks now, and how they want it to look.

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