Library District Plan

I’d like to continue the discussion of the library parking lot plans in a slightly more positive way.  I’ve really appreciated your comments so far, and I want to see if we can talk about what we do want (if, as seems to be the case, we don’t want two hockey rink/arenas).

One of the things that was mentioned last night that I neglected to talk about was an assignment for the library board:

What if this wasn’t the Theater District, but the Library District?

What would your ideal Library District Plan look like?

(The idea comes from Tim McGourthy, whose presentation I missed.  In the interest of full disclosure, I really like him.)

So, readers —

Let’s say the McGrath Parking Lot should be developed.  What would you like to see in there?  What would complement the library?  What would bring new patrons to the library?

Let’s say we could have an entrance to the Library along Franklin Street/Salem Square.  Would that change your opinion of the availability of parking?  How important is nearby parking to your use of the library?  Would you mind walking 1-2 blocks to the library if it was an easy/interesting walk?

Let’s say some sort of athletics (field, complex, park) should be a component of development.  What would you like to see?

Let’s say there was going to be street-level storefronts on Salem and/or Portland Streets.  What would you like to see?  What would you use?  What do you think would be a natural fit/extension for the library?

Anything else you can think of?


7 thoughts on “Library District Plan

  1. Joe says:

    Good point about the walk. After reading through the article, I see that more parking (a garage/deck) is planned for the former T&G parking lot. While that’s a start, the article doesn’t specify that it will be public parking.

    Well, the library parking lot is hardly ever *entirely* full… there’s probably some space there for development, though that development will also require spaces.

    How about a really good coffee shop? I guess bookstores are a dead end nowadays, but I think that the reason Ben Franklin stayed in business as long as it did was the location.

    Want to draw college students? Back in my day we road tripped to used record stores and comic book stores. That’s Entertainment is unlikely to move, though.

  2. Angela says:

    Parking at the library is an important consideration for me. My trips to the library are usually unplanned and last less than 30 minutes. Without the availability of close and convenient parking, I would likely head to the Shrewsbury library which is actually closer to my home than the Worcester library. When my children were young, we visited the library and the availability of attached parking was a major factor. I probably would not have wanted to park a few blocks away to walk with them.
    Without convenient, close and ample parking, I believe the library dynamic changes significantly. JMO.

  3. I have to agree with others. Nearby parking is vital. If we’re dreaming, though, let’s close Salem St. to vehicle traffic and turn the whole block into a pedestrian plaza with comfortable seating and vendor carts. Fill the storefronts with local merchants – maybe entice some local favorites like Living Earth and Mediterranean Marketplace and Hadwen Park Meat Market to open “satellite” stores and turn the plaza into a “Taste of Worcester” showcase. Add a great indie coffee shop and a tot-lot style playground and it would be a people magnet that makes sense for downtown.

  4. elmparkblogger says:

    I think the entire area around Washington Square could be the center of a pedestrian-friendly district STARTING with the library.

    The Library and asit down area there and across the street at the Notre Dame church-turned into a pub restaurant has great potential for people to SLOW down, soak it in, veg a little and check up on their emails….

    Rather than rush in with restauraunts, I would start slowly with kiosks and food trucks….Any restaurnats should be higher ended than the usual Worcester stuff to get the moneyed students and the i290 travelers to stop bye. Emphasis, “free clean bathrooms” if that works to get them to stop by for a while (it really is a shame that we gave aaway the plumbing museum; a “green” museum on that subject could be pretty interesting to all sorts of folks. But we prefer to overlaod the Blackstone RIver instead and be bad neighbors to RI, but that’s another subject)

    Secondly, their shuld be an emphasis on a garden at the area behind city hall. Give ppl places to chat, sit, stay, eat, spend…

    thirdly, i would put high emphasis on connecting wifi and maybe some cell phone carriers there. I have noticed a serious disconnect between the “connected and nonInternet connected. The nonconnected tend to be poor or old. They are threatened or overwhelmed by the technology. (I also believe the next serious Internet hit is going to somehow make the stuff easier for this group)

    fourth, stop thinking that the Notre dame church has to stay that way. I loved the pub/restaurant idea. My own thought was to turn that area into a park-cum-altar to keep its spiritual nature. We do not have to keep it as a church. Keeping it that way–like the Galleria itself–remains an obstacle to some people’s thinking. And from my experience the only answer to that is to flatten the bejesuz out of it.

    fifth, what IF you did turn it into a pub and made it a college friendly–super cheap beer on Thursdays kind of place. yes, it might be a public threat with drunk drivers, but NOT if you required the college kids to walk there…and then they would actually be walking thru the city instead of driving thru it

  5. […] I’d asked reader feedback on what you’d like in a library district. […]

    • Mary says:

      We really used the library a lot when my kids were small. It was part of our weekly routine and a great way to get out and be somewhere where there was something for everyone, for FREE. If I had to park 2 blocks away and slug with 3 kiddos –one in a stroller– I don’t think we would have gone so often or spontaneously.
      But thinking back on those days and knowing that lots of young fams still go to the library for similar reasons I was thinking what would we have done to expand on our outing back then?
      I can think of a nice cafeteria / lunch place where we could get something CHEAP to snack on and look at our books, see all kinds of other folks. Or a small grocery store where we could get a treat, a loaf of bread or something we need for supper—that would save on having to put the kids in the car and go somewhere else and get everyone out of the car again.
      Back then, we really liked to go places where we could see something being made or see something changing, kinetic. We loved the barnyard zoo at Green Hill. Again FREE! Animals doing stuff. That was energizing.
      A great place in Alexandria, Virginia, called the Torpedo Factory. Free. Walk around see artists at work, visit an exhibit in the main foyer, check out classes, kids and all ages can move around, be free, see lots!

      People making, doing and selling things.
      How about fixing bikes, making donuts, mending shoes, blowing glass, people sewing, and people working, How about a Recycling Center where you could get cool stuff to take home and make other things with.

      The ice rink doesn’t fit into this picture for us.
      MAYBE we might go in once to see if we could see anyone skating but probably just once. Then it would just become a big building

      I ‘ll be at the hearing Thursday, and I’ll encourage my other downtown neighbors to be there too. Thanks for posting this.

  6. elmparkblogger says:

    whenever I see “hockey rink” in MA newspaper, I always think of the 10-20 hockey rinks run and woned by the MBTA. (why, for God’s sake, is the MBTA in the ice arena business is another issue)

    I wonder if MBTA money is lurking in the background to increase goverment control over the rest of us and to expand the MBTA into Worcester.

    For years MBTA–and a meek, one party state house has been eager to expand the MBTA to make the rest of us pay for Boston’s public transportation system.

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