Notes from last night’s D5 Open Space Meeting

Reminder: if you have comments about what should be included/mentioned in the Open Space plan, including any properties you think the city should look at acquiring, email, subject line: Open Space.

The Happy Valentine’s Day Open Space Meeting

The beginning is the same as the previous meetings – you can review the D3 meeting for more details.

When they started this process, they had 65 parcels for Con Comm – through a review they are up to 110 properties.

Community garden locations will be listed.

Discussion (based on question from attendee) about passive vs. active recreation; it seems that those who advocate passive recreation have showed up at the meetings more.

Comment/question about how many passive recreation people there are, and how to track them.

Suggestions: enlisting college students with clickers; quantifying geocache sites.

Another comment: older people tend to be more active in community things.  She recommends a demographic poll of age range.

Response: the survey will ask for an age range.

Another comment: has Worcester compared sports usage versus what the national parks & rec standards are?

Longer discussion of national formula vs. local character.

Colin: can we have an insert about the online survey in the annual street listing?

Question about making sure marginalized communities, residents of housing authorities, etc., the vulnerable, are included in the survey.  Potentially state/federal funding to support this.

Response: they will be meeting with the housing authority administration.

They will also be preparing an environmental justice map as part of the plan.

Gerry: curious about Cook Pond – land is labeled brown and “Other”; Patches is purple/Conservation Commission.  What’s up with the colors around the various bodies of water?

Response: it has to do with ownership.  Green is Parks; Purple is Con Com; Brown is private owner (like GWLT, Audubon, etc.)

Question: private and public cemeteries: are they allowed to be used for passive recreation?

Response: no answer from diocese (question was specifically about St John’s).  Still open space, question about public use.

Question about whether there will be a section on the history of the parks system.  Response – yes.

Question about seven year action plan?

Response: it’s a DCR/state requirement.

Further response: no requirement for a municipality to complete an open space master plan, but if you’re applying for grants, you need to do this, and it’s in your favor if what you’re applying for in a grant is in your master plan.

Gerry – an older master plan will not end up getting done before a newer one; the queue is not necessarily in order.

Response: correct.  It’s not a perfect science; they do try to map projects to year one, year two, etc.

Question: wonders if they could consider having these maps in hospital lobbies, etc. – to build bridges, inform community, etc.

Comment: improve Mill Street beach.  Cheap alternative to building a pool, annual maintenance would be less than a pool.  Also, environmental justice piece.

Further comment: people’s perception is that it’s dirty, would need outreach.

Comment: Hillside beach – keep open mind, make it happen after Mill St beach improvements.

Colin – Parson’s Cider Mill – conservation restriction on the land across the street from 1978.  On D2/D3, section of bikeway not on the map should be on the map.  As a policy matter, city came up with the shopping list of everything everyone mentioned – then there was an open space top 10 list from there, to share priorities with city and open space folks.

Comment: objects to parks policy of closing access to parking lots in Beaver Brook – denying public access to Knights of Columbus parcel.

Comment: ConCom property on Glendale Street – trying to get signs that say no dumping – police take notice.  If there are signs that might be a deterrent.

Gerry – Patches – no way to drain it.  Becoming filled in, shallower.  How do you get a system to drain it down?

Response from the audience: dam needs to be replaced/repaired/removed.

Longer discussion of the area – used to be a brook corridor, and it will go back to that without human intervention.


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