I compared the original draft of the Theatre District Master Plan to the final draft, and this is what I saw:
p. 3 (p. 14 of the pdf) – added third paragraph
p. 11 (p. 22 of the pdf) – slightly rewritten
p. 13 (p. 24 of the pdf) – added third paragraph
pp. 22-23 (pp. 33-34 of the pdf) – slightly rewritten
p. 42 (p. 53 of the pdf) – larger paragraph split into two smaller paragraphs – but no change in words
Yes, after lenghty and well-thought-out comments at meetings and in writing, from numerous members of the public, the changes constitute two paragraphs, a few words, and a carriage return.
Either that means that the WBDC, its consultants, and the city administration think that they can read the minds of the people of Worcester…or the wishes of the public were never the point.
I want the downtown, and this part of the downtown, to be successful. Most of us do.
But this is a plan that relies on hoping that people will walk down alleys to nowhere and that would remove “undesirable” businesses.
It’s a plan that relies on an outside theater company (the MRT) — whose plans for Worcester are now on hold — without ever talking to existing theater groups (Worcester County Light Opera, Greater Worcester Opera, Worcester Shakespeare Company, etc.) to see what would bring them downtown.
There’s little in here about specific plans for the McGrath Lot, which leaves the potential for a hockey arena in the middle of downtown a distinct possibility — despite vocal opposition from the public.
The things in this plan that people like — food trucks, festivals, pop-up galleries — could already be happening now. We don’t need a master plan for that.
We do need a master plan to guide us in creating more restaurants and housing, and in encouraging local entrepreneurs.
We need a master plan that doesn’t propose knocking down a couple of historical buildings to build something that does not add to the vibrancy of a street.
We need a master plan that does not revive our Brutalist heritage at 20 Franklin Street.
If these plans were something you were concerned about and commented on, then you should feel outraged that your comments were ignored.
There were a lot of good suggestions for the McGrath Lot, and none of them were included in the revised plan. You should feel outraged that the plan does not say there will be no hockey arena, merely that the proposal was made and there was opposition — but there is no firm disavowal of that proposal in the master plan.
If you feel the process should have been better (as it was with the North Main strategy), or that the plan needs to include more of the comments from the public, you should:
- Come to the City Council meeting on Tuesday night and comment on this item (4C).
- Attend the Economic Development Subcommittee meeting where this plan will be discussed (TBD).
- Contact members of the City Council and especially the Economic Development Subcommittee (Rushton, O’Brien, Russell). (You can find all the contact information on the sidebar of Worcester Is Major.)