A Front Street (of sorts)

Today, the 21st Century version of Front Street was opened to the public.  Several dozen shivering people and a gaggle of local & state politicians past & present gathered for a lengthy program of speakers, followed by a quick ribbon-cutting and the world’s shortest parade.

Here are a few images of what one can see on the new stretch of Front Street:

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If you’re old enough to remember the street that once passed through here to Washington Square, you’ll know that this new byway bears no resemblance.  If you’re not old enough, a glance at some old photos will make the same point clear.  Although Hanover Insurance President/CEO Fred Eppinger reminded folks that City Square has only completed its first phase, the city administration has already deviated noticeably from its master plan for mixed use development in favor of permitting any sort of building that’s funded by an outfit with deep pockets.

What the Galleria Mall should have taught us is that inappropriate development can be very hard to undo, and I hope we’ll keep that in mind when we begin to discuss the future of the McGrath/Library lot in a couple of weeks.

Lots of familiar faces showed up for today’s grand opening of Front Street Extension:

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InSearchOfBigCoupon

State Rep. John Fresolo, showing what can only be more intelligence than the rest of the attendees, turned up for the last five minutes of the speeches; he had to park his black sedan illegally in the fire lane nearby to get there in time to grab the microphone & add his thanks to several legislators whose names had somehow escaped previous speakers.

Lucky for Mr. Fresolo that he was also just in time to catch Konnie Lukes sneak a quick snuggle with Phil Palmieri:

MySweetEmbraceableYou

Then everyone cleared the way for a parade that consisted of a handful of vehicles containing WW2 & Korean War vets (escorted by Worcester’s Finest; serenaded with the theme to Chariots of Fire, followed by “Eye of the Tiger“):

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I’m sure those vets remember what downtown Worcester & Front Street used to be like before the mall, and are probably glad the mall’s gone.  They may or may not care for what’s going up in its place, though.

Being a “glass half full” sort of gal, here’s hoping the city administration fills the second half of this glass with mixed use development instead of handing out parcels willy nilly to whichever outfit shows up with cash in hand.

And let’s hope it’s light on the Brutalist/Vladivostok-circa-1967 look that Worcester is so reluctant to shake.

More coverage: WoMag, Telegram [$], @bizarrolukes:

http://twitter.com/BIZARROLUKES/status/285740224053653504

http://twitter.com/BIZARROLUKES/status/285853364934295552

http://twitter.com/BIZARROLUKES/status/285853154875154433

screenprints, as ever, via kwout

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