Like many of you, I still hadn’t recovered from the WBDC Worcester 2020 video when the news came about the WRA Urban Revitalization Plan.
I’ll start writing about the plan in the coming days (and I’d appreciate the feedback of others as I take a look at the plans) but we may as well start with other groups’ visions before we tackle the WRA.
While I’ve often felt that Worcester would be the perfect setting for a 1970s-era dystopian fantasy, it’s nice to see that others have taken that to a new level.
Vision 1: WBDC/Worcester 2020
For those of you who’ve always wanted to see what Worcester looks like after a neutron bomb, now’s your chance. Don’t worry, there’s still enough of the old Worcester so that you won’t get lost.
Plus: with no stops to make, and no passengers to carry, the commuter rail will finally achieve a first: being on-time!
Minus: since it’s still Worcester,the planned crosswalks will lead you right into large shrubs.
Plus: with fewer pedestrians in Worcester than any previous point in history, we have finally achieved pre-Jonas Rice population levels.
Minus: 2020 Front Street has even fewer storefronts than 2016 Front Street.
Plus: Worcester Common: it’s bigger on the inside! And it has food trucks!
Minus: Spoiler Alert: Soylent Green is people!
Plus: Worcester now has a “Symphony Hall”.
Minus: The WBDC has taken control of Mechanics Hall and turned it into a 21st century roller skating rink.
Vision 2: The The
For years, downtown Worcester has lacked the one item so many major urban metropolises have possessed: the definite article.
We no longer need to feel inferior to Providence, Boston, or Sandusky.
We, too, finally have a plethora of Thes.
The pioneering The was The Edge at Union Station, which encourages thousands of commuters just like me to Live on the Edge.
It’s brave marketing, particularly since someone could look at the prices ($975 per bedroom for a 4 bedroom flat) and say I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
Not to be outdone, The Grid District contains many buildings — Park Plaza, Portside, Bancroft — all of which are ON THE GRID, which I would certainly expect, considering we’re in a first world country in the 21st century. No word yet on whether they have indoor plumbing and party lines, but one can dream.
It would be slightly more exciting, and certainly more in keeping with Worcester’s pre-post-apocalyptic tradition, if The Grid had a Tron theme. Not a 2010, Daft Punk, CGI Jeff Bridges Tron. Try 1982, Bruce-Boxleitner-where-did-you-get-those-glasses, no-that’s-not-how-computers-work Tron.
Pac Man in the streets. It’s what we deserve.
On a more serious note…
The reason no one in that video wants to talk about the Mid Town Mall is that, come 2020, it will still have higher occupancy and more foot traffic than the rest of downtown.
We need to start asking why the WRA is beginning the process of pushing out many longtime business owners, people who have actually had successes in a down economy, in areas that the city considers difficult to do business in. Rather than asking what the secret to their success is, or how the city can be partners in that success, we’re talking repackaging properties for resale to developers.