A year and a half ago, there was a call for a citizens advisory committee for the WRA to plan the theater district.
The following folks will serve on the committee:
Chairman John Brissette (yes, the very same individual who was pushing the hockey rink)
Vice Chair Jill Dagilis
Stacey DeBoise Luster
So, many of the major downtown stakeholders (Becker College, MCPHS, YWCA, etc.) are represented in one way or the other on this board, excepting the Worcester Public Library.
There will be a meeting to discuss the urban renewal plan (not sure if it’s the same as the original plan) on Thursday, February 26 at 5:30 at the Levi Lincoln Chamber of City Hall.
A few other random notes:
As the Telegram reported [$], the WBDC has been renovating 20 Franklin Street, and is still looking for a tenant to run a restaurant in the first floor. I wish them all the luck in the world, but the facade of the building is even uglier than the artist renderings.
We will, I’m sure, hear about the necessity of a 300-seat theater, so it’s good that the Paris Cinema has reared its head once again to remind us that we already have a small theater.
I’m interested to see how this ties in to the proposed residential/retail development in CitySquare. You may recall [$] that there was supposed to be a restaurant and retail in the Unum building, but I don’t see either when I go by the building. [Readers, feel free to correct me!] There’s also nothing of street-level pedestrian interest at the St. Vincent Cancer Center or the WRTA Hub.
I have been reluctant to write about this because I say the same things over and over again, but we cannot keep making the same mistakes and expect that things will get better downtown.
Replacing an indoor mall with a bunch of buildings with no street-level retail/restaurants is not an improvement and will not increase pedestrian traffic or drive people downtown.
At this point, if there is any further development that doesn’t include vibrant street-level activity (not offices, and certainly not a glassed-in entrance to a black-box theater) we will have missed the whole point of getting rid of the mall.
If the retail/residential development in CitySquare loses the retail component, we will have lost. If we take away parts of Main Street that have retail and replace them with something that’s not retail, we will have lost.
We are at an absolutely critical moment in downtown development. Don’t let’s screw it up.