Tonight, I experienced two moments I would otherwise never have had were I not a blogger:
1) I went to Worcester Mag On Tap. I heard Mike Perotto talk about Facebook. And I introduced myself as “Nicole” and everyone knew who I was! (Well, not Mike Perotto. That’s coming, I’m sure.) My goal is to become the Cher of Worcester and never have to use my last name again.
2) At the Old Courthouse Reuse/Restriction Hearing, I brought my notebook because I didn’t have access to a laptop. Fran Ford told people to watch out, because the Fourth Estate was here. Since Nick K., the real Fourth Estate, was sitting in front of me, I said, “Well, I’m really the Fifth Estate.” When I was leaving, he said, “Goodbye, Fifth Estate.”
Anyway, it was kind of dead at the hearing; there were maybe ten people there and half of us us were either members of the old or new media or former or current city employees.
Mary Beth Clancy and Peter Norstrand were there representing DCAM, which currently has care of the courthouse, and the purpose of the hearing was to hear from the public about any potential restriction of the building.
Councilors Petty and Toomey were there. Councilor Petty spoke first, asking if there was a timetable for the bid and project completion. Clancy said that there are no dates as yet; they will first incorporate any comments before the begin the auction process. Petty reiterated that, if the property is to be redeveloped as housing, the Council feels it should be market rate housing.
Next, Tim McGourthy, the city’s director of economic development, spoke that the City feels that this is one of the two key properties in the North Main project (as discussed in the charrette). He would like this as a mixed-use facility.
John Meyer, representing the First Unitarian Church next door, said that their only concern is that Court Street remains open so that they can access their church parking lot and dumpster, and so that the handicapped access to the church on that side of the street remains available.
Jo Hart, an “amateur city planner”, said that residents’ views were not represented at the charrette. Why do we need more housing when there are already thousands of apartments in the city? Her suggestion would be to contact Yale (if they have any money left) and have them put in a satellite to their law school.
[Editorial aside: Yale’s already got one tough town to deal with, so I’m not sure why they’d want to hook up with an even more dysfunctional municipality. Seriously, though, Yale’s got a great brand, and, while there are plenty of universities setting up satellite locations in nouveau-riche Arab nations like the UAE, I’m not sure the Ivies are looking to expand into the Woo. Then again, maybe the University of Abu Dhabi wants to start a satellite location in the US…]
In any event, Hart complained that the city tends to use the same designer for multiple projects; Clancy assured her that there would be a bidding process [i.e., this is DCAM, not the city].
Yours truly asked what the disposition of the General Devens equestrian statue at the corner of Main and Highland would be. Clancy said that they are still researching whether the statue belongs to the city or the state. If the former, they would likely want to keep it; if the latter, it too would be considered surplus property. (The impression I got, though, is that the city would probably get it either way. My husband thinks George Frisbie Hoar needs a friend.)