One Montvale: The Petition

I heard from Liz Todd, and I thought I’d share a little bit of what she said:

“Thank you for your interest in this issue. We did go to the City Council meeting last week to try to talk with a few councilors face-to-face, and were pleasantly surprised when Mr. Palmeri spoke so passionately on our behalf.
“Two years ago, this topic first came up when the Antiquarian Society tried to purchase 1 Montvale and put in a parking lot where the old court stands. Some people in the neighborhood (led by the next door neighbor, Mr. Bruce Bunke, and Mr. Crowley) did not want this to happen.
“First, they tried to prevent it by going through the zoning laws. Unfortunately for them, the Antiquarian Society is an educational institution, and is therefore exempt from certain zoning restrictions (and were therefore within their rights to put in a parking lot should they purchase 1 Montvale). Then, they tried to use the Worcester Historical Commission, on which Mr. Crowley sits, to stop the developments. It was at this point that they discovered that the court was not actually in the historic district, and was therefore out of their jurisdiction.
“And so began the battle to include the court in the district and establish control over the land usage. First, they tried to prove that the court was left out by mistake. This was proved to not be the case, so they then tried to prove that the court had some sort of historical value. Again, they failed. Now, they claim to want to include the court as a “buffer” to the historic district. Sounds like an issue of eminent domain, huh?
“So here’s where we stand now. Adi and I have proposed to the Council members to put something into writing that would prevent a commercial parking lot from ever being built where the tennis court now stands. We offer this as a compromise to the concerned neighbors, even though we do not gain anything from it. Why? Because at the end of the day, we still have to live here when this is all over.
“Still, we’re not sure if they’ll even take that. We’ve been told that if this goes to vote in front of the council, we will lose due to ‘political pressure.’  So, attached is a petition that we are spreading around to the people of Worcester in the hope that they will support us in keeping the court out of the historic district. Perhaps if the voters of this city voice their opinions, the Council will listen. 
“If City Council can include our tennis court in the district, and thereby compromise our land use rights without just compensation, then they can do the same for any other lots around either of Worcester’s historic districts. In other words, they are setting a precedent here. If they can include our land, then who will be next? More lots down on Park Ave?  Just something that everyone may want to consider.”

The petition is located here.  Anyone who would like to sign (and Liz makes many compelling points for why you should care, even if you don’t live anywhere near her) can mail the petition back to 1 Montvale Rd, Worcester, MA 01609, or can email it to onemontvale (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Ideas for the Worcester Public Library

I like how the WPL website has begun posting the library director’s monthly reports and the board of directors meeting minutes.

I’d thought about applying for the library board of directors (which is coming before the City Council tonight) but I don’t have enough time to devote to it right now.

I would, however, like to point to a few programs that are working for other communities at minimal cost to taxpayers.

In the city of Newton, the Auburndale branch of the public library was closed.  People in the community were passionate about their library that they now keep it open to the public (albeit on a limited schedule), completely run by volunteers.  This might be a real possibility for neighborhoods that are not close to the existing branches of the Worcester Public Library. 

The Boston Globe had published an article a while back about bookmobiles.  At one point, I remember that there had been some discussion about bringing back a bookmobile to the city — I’m not sure where that ever went, but I think that we might seriously want to consider giving or lending books in the context of Meals on Wheels or Dining Center meals.

Finally, an idea that I am absolutely in love with: using old phone booths as mini-libraries.  I don’t have a cell phone, so I do like to see actual phones in phone booths, but I suppose Penelope Lively would be the next best thing.  Especially if it were Heat Wave.

Worcester Blog of the Week

I got some more kind words over the past week, so once again I’d like to pay tribute to someone who has been blogging longer than I have..

Sunday on the Block with Laurel appears every Sunday and it’s a wonderful way to start the week.  I love that I’m not the only person who refers to a certain place as the “Barnyard Zoo.” I love the shout-outs to other bloggers and the promotion of literacy, all in one post.  I definitely need to pick up the blog-as-book, if it’s still available.

Keep up the good work, Brian!  I will try to come by stART at the Station this Sunday to support your work.

(I’m also accepting nominations for any future Worcester Blogs of the Week…email me or leave a comment.)