Wholly Cross about College Square

I really liked Gabe‘s comment about the City Council discussion of what my sister would call “those damn college kids.”

I grew up in Worcester, and I have more than one family member living in more than one house on College Hill.  I didn’t attend college in Worcester, but I did attend a school in a neighborhood that superficially resembles the one Holy Cross is in.

There were, however, some big differences between the two neighborhoods.  There are no coffee houses one block away from campus at Holy Cross.  At my college, I didn’t have to walk across the entry to a highway, under a dark, sketchy highway overpass, in order to get to a half-filled plaza where the biggest attraction is a Wendy’s.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t even think Rotmans is still running Cafe Fantastique.

Where I went to school, there were at least two coffeehouses within a few blocks, not to mention a decent square with restaurants and a candlepin bowling alley and a CD store and banks and a real supermarket and a subway station.  In short, there were a lot of great options that didn’t involve alcohol and didn’t require a car.

There will always be students who make drunken fools of themselves.  There are plenty of non-students who make drunken fools of themselves, too.

If you drove by College Square and the Culpepper’s Plaza and knew nothing about Worcester, you probably would not think that there was a college of almost 3,000 (!!!) students in that area.  And if I were a student at Holy Cross who knew nothing of the city beyond my immediate environs, I would think the city was a complete dump that couldn’t even support a Starbucks near my campus.  It’s not like I could just catch a ride with my friends to go downtown…because THAT’s a dump, too.

I’m getting a little tired of the “we’re a city of neighborhoods” line being used, and people not remembering that businesses are also an essential part of many neighborhoods.  Culpepper’s, Wendy’s, a convenience store, and an insurance agency do not a happening college town make.  Look at the Holy Cross website on Worcester and try to see if you can find any attraction that’s actually in that neighborhood.

Yes, the city and the college need to work together.  But I’m not convinced that the problem is wholly the college’s to fix.

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