Theatre District – Saga (Temporarily) on Hold

I’m away from Worcester right now, though in a remarkably similar city.  It’s got beautiful downtown buildings, an active anti-panhandling campaign, and plenty of streets with no street signs.  It’s just like home — except for a distinct lack of hills and a skywalk from a hotel to a parking garage…

Because of that, I haven’t been able to write about so many of the things going on in the city (the parking study, the slots parlor, marijuana dispensaries) — but I hope to.  Soon.

When we last left the Theatre District, we’d gotten a master plan that had little changes from the draft.

As Tracy notes, Councilor Eddy held the item about the Theater District Master Plan last Tuesday.  (You can find more, including some quotes of my public comment, in Nick K’s column [$] from yesterday.)

I will just quote from Tracy’s blog about what could happen and what you should do if you care about the plan:

Councilor Eddy’s hold under privilege only lasts for a week. The Council has to do something with it tomorrow night. At this point, they can do four things:

  1. They can send the report on to Economic Development (the subcommittee that will hear this).
  2. They can hold the report for another week. That would take four councilors to vote in favor of the hold, at this point, as a personal privilege hold can only be done once per item per Councilor.
  3. They can send the report back to administration (as Nicole urged them to do last week) to incorporate public comment (or redo the process so that it begins from public comment).
  4. They can file the item, which is a nice way of saying, they can toss it out.
In order for anything unusual to happen, the Council needs to hear from the public. Thus, should you have any concerns about access to the parking lot (or, indeed, any other aspects of the plan), you should get in touch with the Council
 
Better yet, there is a time for public testimony at the beginning of every Council meeting: attend tomorrow night’s meeting at 7 pm at City Council and voice your concerns.
So — if you can, please contact the Council or speak at tomorrow night’s meeting.  Thanks!
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3 thoughts on “Theatre District – Saga (Temporarily) on Hold

  1. djmbytheelm says:

    nicole, I was hoping you might be able to help me-I was told you are familiar with the barton brook kennel history and the city awarding them the contract and she wasn’t even a 5031c and was unable to adopt dogs out. that was last year, this year they have awarded her the contract again and we can’t find that she has her 5031c and she is not recognized by the state dept. of ag as a kennel/shelter. the conditions at that place are deplorable-dirt floors, heat in one building only (a plastic hanger type building that rattles in the wind and the noise of the rain, etc. the dogs don’t see the light of day) she does not have posted hours, there is an electric eye at the gate and the general public is not allowed in, I could go on and on…….I have contacted the city manager, he assured me that the contract has not been awarded to BBK but when I asked allie, the director at WARL, she told me she wasn’t getting the strays either. and then all of a sudden after my email to the city manager, she was-she said they were helping out again! there is a group of very concerned citizens of worcester that wants answers and we are entitled by law to get them, I have also contacted mary keefe our state rep and have heard nothing! this has been going on for several weeks. if you are interested in talking more you can call me on my cell 774-239-0858 or we can email, I can forward you copies of the emails that I have sent to the city manager and to mary keefe. as well as my responses from allie. you can look up the contract via worcester city website, it states at the bottom that the contract has been awarded to BBK? we are all very confused and no one is giving us what should be a very simple answer. thanks dorrie

    • Nicole says:

      Dorrie,

      I am about as familiar with it as you are, I think. (Which is to say — I know some things but not all.)

      I wrote about this about a year ago.

      If you look at the City of Worcester’s Contract Status Report from last month, you’ll see that BBK has the contract for Animal Shelter Services/WPD, and the contract is through February 19, 2016. The contract number is 9475J.

      The City Council Standing Committee that would normally deal with these questions is Public Health, and Konnie Lukes is the chair. I suggest contacting her, as well as Tony Economou and Sarai Rivera, the other members of that committee. You can find their contact information on the sidebar of Worcester is Major.

      Among the questions I think need to be answered are what the criteria is for awarding a contract to a dog kennel. BBK used to not be licensed to adopt out dogs. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but it’s worth asking, especially if they now hold the contract for three years.

      Please let me know if you need other assistance, and I’ll be willing to ask questions or see if a reporter is willing to do some research.

  2. gayle says:

    This is my opinion in regards to this meeting and any others on these topics,
    I feel people should be aware that the city is non-compliant with Div. of Conservation Services objective which “require public agencies and encourages the private sector to ensure public safety on public and private lands”(take note of words require-encourage)
    The Division of Conservation Services is the only dept. that the city submits it’s Master Plans to for approval of funding and this review is due May 2013.
    The city is non-compliant based on these (as well as others I find ) issues
    1. The workbook of (SCORP) states obejtive of (SCORP) is to “assess the capabilities of state &local agencies to sustain and or expand level of outdoor recreation” (take note of words and or )
    2. DCS approval letter of the 2006 Open Space &Recreation Plan states the city is generally compliant (take note of generally ) and has regularly planned for maintenance.
    3. Under objective of (SCORP) it states number 6.maintance “must be well maintained and appropriately staffed on a regular ,continuous bacis. Failure to do so, even for short term reasons, can have long-term implications,decrese public safety and support. And adversely impact public experiences. “
    I feel any reports that the city submits for funding will be vague enough in areas for city council and parks &recreation to do whatever they(and their political or material motivations ) want to do based on the facts below and you can see how they would relate to any Master Plan Downtown.
    A.They are finish with Master Plan Beaver Brook and now they have locked up all public parking lots and entrances for public access(lots are for leagues) which makes the park an isolated dangerous park to walk thru.
    B. They have refused to apply Laws for certain private property(Krocks) abutting public park(BeaverBrook) to be mowed to 12”inches of vegetation to ensure public safety (remember that he owns a building on Main that he is trying to tear down)Parking lots do not require much upkeep but neither does mowing vegetation on empty lot like others have to do.
    C. Master Plan for Knights of Columbus has been completed but now Councilman and Parks and Rec. state they are making a bigger ballfield and bigger parking lot that will be under lock and key for league use (not public).They stated they do not have to make a new master plan because these were only small changes. The larger field and lot were against that community wishes and if you look at public access street it looks ridiculous and the other private street access ,the parks dept got the homeowners association all wound up with the power that he could have all tow trucks lined up to tow the public.
    D.On city 2013 expense budget they added a new job of “Compliance Person “ so I quess the city knows its gets in trouble over being compliant but it is the taxpayers who pay
    E.The budget also has the Parks &Rec. Dept stating it can’t do it’s job but decided that now it is only a “facilitator” for activies and maintains parks for leaques uses.
    The city has spent money on engineers and surveys but like any home or business owner knows when he hires an architect for his house or business ,that architect draws up what he thinks the person who is paying him wants .The city has experience in sidetracking people with issues like what color the street signs should be so that people steer away from the real issues and parks dept and council can divide the city up.There seems to be no accountability on behalf of the city on how it spends its money –they just get a compliance person on staff so they can cover their _ _ _ _ _ .

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