WORCESTER – In what could be the calm before the storm before next week’s tax classification meeting, the city council has a very light pre-Thanksgiving agenda.  District 5 City Councilor Gary Rosen has submitted an order that once again looks to curb the bike “swerving” issue that has taken on the city.

Rosen is asking City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. to take steps to ensure that bicycle riders abide by Massachusetts law that requires any person 16 years old or younger to wear a helmet. Rosen specifically calls out riders using Worcester’s bike sharing program Ofo.

“For good reason, Massachusetts has a mandatory helmet law for minors,” Rosen said in an e-mail to This Week In Worcester on Sunday, Nov. 19.

Massachusetts law requires any person 16 years old or younger to wear a helmet while riding  a bicycle.

“While not required, adult bicyclists should do the same. Helmets save lives but only if they are worn,”  Rosen said.

In September, the city, along with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, rolled out a bikeshare program with Seattle based company Ofo.  The Ofo service is affordable for almost all budgets with a set cost of $1 per hour.

However, since Ofo’s inception the city, there has been an uptick in unsafe cycling.  A practice where cyclists taunt motorist known as “swerving” has increased in the city.  Although not all cases of swerving are done with Ofo bikes, there have been documunted instances of Ofo bikes being involved.

“I am surprised that Ofo, the largest bike-share company in the world, makes no suggestion or provision for the use of helmets by the riders of its bikes. To ignore both the law and sensible safety precautions might even open them up to some degree of liability,” Rosen said.

Rosen also cites that many adults not wearing helmets while riding a bike does not help promote proper bike safety.

“Young riders see other youth and even adults riding without wearing a helmet, they start to believe that it is OK to do so,”  Rosen said.  “It’s incumbent upon parents, our schools, youth agencies, the Worcester Police Dept., representatives from Ofo and appointed and elected officials, among others, to see that the mandatory helmet law for minors is publicized, enforced and abided by.”

District 3 City Councilor George Russell sees this as an opportunity to have a wider discussion on bike safety.

“I think the best thing to do with it is to refer it to the Administration for comment especially the WPD,” Russell said “The whole concept is is a good idea, but the details certainly need some thought.”

Tuesday’s meeting will start at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Esther Howland Chamber in Worcester’s City Hall.

WORCESTER – As leaves finish their exodus off of trees and the temperatures begin to dip in Worcester, one of the city’s summer gems is hard at work to get us ready for another season of fun.

The Worcester Bravehearts, the city’s entry in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League [FCBL], are two months removed from another successful season, in which it saw its team on the field go to the finals for an unprecedented fourth time.

The season is two months long, but the work that goes into bringing the full fan experience of the Bravehearts is a twelve month project, according to team Owner John Creedon Jr. and General Manager Dave Peterson.

“Bravehearts baseball is bigger than baseball. It’s a project to us — a community project,” Creedon said in an interview held at the Bravehearts office last week. “In a lot of ways it’s a labor of love and for me personally it’s a way to show love to Worcester and the Central Mass community.”

The work that the Bravehearts put into the season earned them FCBL 2017 Organization of the Year.  It is an honor the team has received in three of the four seasons in its existence.

“We’ve got a wonderful team in place, and when I say team, I mean staff,”  Creedon said. “We are lucky to have Dave Peterson at the helm.  He’s a force of nature and he is a pleasure to work with.”

The Bravehearts are in the planning stage for the 2018 season and have no definitive plans for new events.  Creedon and Pederson will attend the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL  Dec. 9-13. At those meetings they will meet with vendors and other teams across the country to get more ideas to bring back home.

While in Orlando they will take a backstage tour of Walt Disney World to get a full understanding of the customer experience from the top organization in the world that prides itself on the customer experience.

In 2017, the Bravehearts drew 65,957 fans in 28 home game which ranked them tops in New England and eighth in the nation.  It was also a six percent increase in attendance from the 2016 season.

“More,” Creedon jokingly replied when asked if their was an attendance goal for 2018.

Although plans are not concrete, one thing that is certain is that the Bravehearts will be celebrating its fifth season in the FCBL in 2018

“Something special will happen to celebrate our fifth season,” Peterson said. “It won’t be about celebrating us. It will be about celebrating what’s going on in Worcester.”

Both Creedon and Peterson feel it is their work in the community and off the field that makes them so successful.  

“This needs to be growing every year,” Peterson said. “What happens on the field, we can’t script that.  What we can script is what type of community events we are doing and what type of events will we be leading.”

Last year the Bravehearts added a key community element to its annual Fan Fest by celebrating Worcester’s Little League opening day.  The festivities included a parade on Fitton Avenue, a free coaches clinic for parents, and ceremonies on-field highlighted by former Boston Red Sox star Trot Nixon.

Another program the organization runs is a Pen Pal program where local seniors are matched with local fifth and sixth graders during the year and write to each other in a Bravehearts supplied notebook.  To culminate this program, the pen pals meet each other at a Bravehearts home game during the season.

This week the Bravehearts will launch another event to raise money for the Worcester County Food Bank when it hosts its annual Heart Stove event featuring local baseball stars and industry experts for a spirited baseball discussion. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov 16 at 7 PM, with a pre-event reception beginning at 5:30 PM in the Robert R. Jay Performing Arts Center at Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury.

The event will include Worcester Native and New York Mets Executive J.P. Ricciardi, ESPN Baseball Analyst Buster Olney, NESN host Tom Caron and St. John’s alums and professional baseball players John Andreoli and Ryan O’Rourke.

The discussion is just one aspect of the event.  The Bravehearts will spotlight its connection with Saint John’s High School.  Creedon and his father John Creedon Sr. are both alums, as well as many players that have come through the Bravehearts organization.  The 2018 members of the Bravehearts that are Saint John’s alums will be introduced as well.

The Bravehearts strongly value its ties to the community and all of the initiatives that it encounters.

“It’s about what community initiatives do we want to attach ourselves too,”  Peterson said. “We are not just going to cast a wide net.  When we want to do something we want to do it very well.”

On the field, the front office of the Bravehearts have full faith in their coaching staff in putting together a team that is not only competitive, but has the attitude that reflects that values and mission of the Bravehearts organization.  J.P. Pyne will return for his third season as Field Manager for the 2018 season.

Recently, the City of Worcester has engaged in talks with the Pawtucket Red Sox as they look for a new stadium deal.  The Rhode Island legislature recently put a vote on a new stadium on hold for the rest of 2017, which makes a deal in Worcester back on the radar.

Creedon has respect for the Pawtucket Red Sox organization and its ownership team, as he does with Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Timothy P Murray in making a deal that is right for all parties involved.

“If the Pawtucket Red Sox do make Worcester their home. I would feel awful putting them out of business,” Creedon lightheartedly joked in reference to the ongoing negotiations.

Creedon truly feels the summer collegiate financial model works and that it fits Worcester being a college city.

Creedon said that sharing a stadium with the Worcester Red Sox – if the opportunity presented itself – was premature and that they had a great partnership with the College of the Holy Cross for the use of Fitton Field and there was nothing that would change that at this time.

Even if the PawSox come to Worcester, it’s years away — if it happens at all.  Meanwhile, the Bravehearts are focused and are committed to working harder than ever to making the Bravehearts experience an excellent, intimate baseball fan experience in Worcester.

WORCESTER – Matt Wally held off opponent Paul Franco in the race for District 5 City Councilor. 

“This is a huge win,” Wally told his supporters at Zorba’s Restaurant on Tuesday night. “We ran a positive campaign. You cannot underestimate the intelligence of the voters in District 5.”

Wally earned 2,695 votes (58%) compared to Franco’s 1,917 (41%).

“Over the last eight months it was good to see my message resonated with the voters,” Wally said.

Matt Wally (left) and Paul Frano (right)/Photos: Matt Wright

The seat for District 5 was left open when District 5 City Councilor Gary Rosen decided to run for an City Councilor-at-Large.  Rosen earned an at-Large seat and will continue to serve on the City Council.

During his campaign, Wally focused on infrastructure improvements to Worcester’s streets and sidewalks, and a default speed limit throughout the city.  He talked about fiscal responsibility when it came to the construction of the new Doherty and South High Schools.

“I want to thank the voters for recognizing my hard work. I look forward to catching up on the issues currently being debated and hit the ground running come January,” Wally said.

Franco also campaigned on the construction of new Doherty and South High Schools,  a comprehensive recycling plan, and the return of the Police Bike Patrols.  

The main area in which the candidates vastly differed was the tax rate.  Wally, was a proponent of a single tax rate to help aid small business stay and succeed in Worcester.  Whereas, Franco was proponent of keeping the existing dual tax rate.

WORCESTER – The last City Council meeting before next week’s Municipal Election will feature an agenda from the City Manager and there will be no orders from City Councilors.  However, there are plenty of items on the agenda to look out for.

Blinking Lights at Lake Park

If you ask any city official, public safety is always paramount on their list of priorities.  District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson is taking a long-time issue in her district and working towards a solution.

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Mero-Carlson has filed a petition asking for the city to install blinking crossing lights at the entrance of Quinsigamond State Park on Lake Avenue.

The intersection is extremely dangerous not just to pedestrians, but to cars as well. Cars from Hamilton Street turning left onto Lake Ave must cross three lanes of traffic and deal with any pedestrians crossing the road.

“I support the idea of a crosswalk flashing light on Lake Ave near the park,”  District 3 City Councilor George Russell, whose district borders the park.

We have the opportunity to do something down there” Mero-Carlson said in a phone interview on Monday, Oct. 30.

Mero-Carlson said that there was recently a traffic study done by the City Manager’s office at that intersection with regards to CSX trucks on the road.

“I’m curious to know what that study revealed,” Mero-Carlson said. “They have the numbers from the trucks. They should have for the cars, too.”

Russell supports the idea of a traffic study being done to deal with the multitude of accidents that occur at the intersection.

“I would support any effort to promote safety in the District,”  Russell added.

City Exemption for City Employees snow plowing

City Manager Edward M Augustus Jr. will present the the opinion of City Solicitor David M. Moore in regards to the exemption of the Conflict of Interest Law when it pertains to snow plow contracts.

This topic garnered much discussion at the City Council meeting on October 17.

“This administration has no greater priority than compliance with the Conflict of Interest law,” Augustus said in his letter to the City Council.

The opinion states that that the Conflict of Interest Law prohibits city employees from having any financial interest in city contracts beyond the scope of their employment.

It is pointed out in several instances in the opinion that violation of this provision is criminal and could be punishable by up to five years in prison and $10,000 fine.

In summary, the law prohibits employees from the Department of Public Works & Parks, the Office of the City Manager and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance from having a snow plowing contract with the city.  That also includes equipment being placed in a family member’s name or a corporate entity where the employee of the family member held a financial interest.

World War I Memorial

Commissioner of Public Works and Parks Paul J. Moosey will update the City Council and the public on the planned renovations and improvements to the World War I Memorial Grove in Green Hill Park.

The first three phases of the six phase project are scheduled to be completed by the Veterans Day 2018, which would be the Centennial of the end of World War I.

The first three phases will include the entrance, the pathway and the Memorial itself.  The final three phases will be completed in November of 2019.

The project encumbers four objectives

  • Guide the public to participate in the memorial landscape, both physically and spiritually, this is essential to the visitor’s experience of a memorial.
  • Provide a vital, quiet, beautiful public space for the surrounding residents.
  • Integrate the surrounding memorial landscapes to create a memorial landscape cluster.
  • Respect site characteristics, and create a sustainable, low maintenance memorial site.

State of the City

“The State of the City is Strong and Optimistic,” Augustus said in his letter to the City Council when giving his update on the development and announcement of the City of Worcester Strategic and Master Plan, and Lean Management.

“It is hard not to see all the progress our administration and this council have made in recent years to bring us to this point,”  Augustus added.

Tonight’s meeting will start at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Esther Howland Chamber in Worcester’s City Hall.

WORCESTER – Six of the eight candidates campaigning for District City Council seats this election met at Mechanics Hall on Thursday night in the second of four candidate forums sponsored by the Worcester Research Bureau.

District 1 Candidate Ed Moynihan, District 3 candidates Davis Asare and incumbent George Russell, District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera and District 5 candidates Paul Franco and Matt Wally participated in the forum.

District 1 candidate Sean Rose was not in attendance due to a previous commitment.  District 4 candidate Coreen Gaffney announced earlier this week that she was dropping out of the race.

The forum was moderated by Chantel Bethea President and CEO of Women In Action, Inc., Colleen Wamback, Public Relations Manager at WPI and Ron Cino Worcester Academy Head of School.

Each candidate discussed the need for improvement while touting the successes that the city has seen the past few years.  The two incumbents — Rivera and Russell — lauded their experience and the work they have done on the council, especially their roles on the city’s Economic Development Sub-Committee.

“Real proof is rolling up your sleeves and getting work done,” Rivera said in her opening statements.

Asare wants to bring change to District 3 by helping young families, providing jobs and helping small business.  He said his opponent, Russell, has been at City Hall too long.  He compared himself to longtime District 3 City Councilor Paul Clancy Jr.  

The comparison prompted Russell to reply, “I know Paul Clancy, He’s my friend. He’s endorsed me. You’re no Paul Clancy.”

Moynihan, who has been campaigning on bringing in more small businesses into the city, stated that Worcester is a great place to raise a family because it has a great sense of community.

“Worcester is the best city in the world,” Moynihan said.

The hotly contested District 5 race saw both candidates spar over the rate.  Franco, a proponent of the lowest residential task rate stated many times that Wally was in favor of a single tax rate and would raise homeowners taxes.  

“Don’t put the burden on the residents, immigrants and new home buyers,”  Franco said.

Wally responded by stating that his opponent was misrepresenting his stance on taxes.  He said that helping small businesses on taxes would increase the tax base and lessen the burden on the homeowners.

“My opponent’s plan is penny wise and pound foolish.  Mine is sound and stable,” Wally told the crowd of approximately 100 attendees.

The tax question was opened up to all the candidates.  Although none of them committed to either the dual or single tax rate, they all agreed that there needs to be middle ground on the topic.

“[The tax rate] is never black and white.  It needs to be looked at yearly and systemically,” Rivera said

When it came to the school budget all the candidates agreed that funding continues to be an issues.

“My son was able to get a free lunch everyday, but there was not enough money for books,” Franco said.

“Good schools create great neighborhoods” Rivera added.

The next forum will be Monday October 23 when Mayoral Candidates Joseph M. Petty and Konstantina M Lukes square off

WORCESTER – The City of Worcester continues to be “all in” when it comes to luring Amazon.  City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. presented Worcester’s bid to the City Council at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The proposal identified 98 acres along Route 20 for Amazon’s second headquarters [HQ2], where a Big Y Supermarket formerly sat.

The sixty page proposal highlights many of the great things that the City of Worcester has to offer.  It speaks to the city’s to quality of life, and access to transportation, technology, innovation and sustainability.

The proposal focuses on Worcester’s passion for innovation stating the many colleges that Amazon could draw its employee pool from, namely Worcester Polytechnic Institute [WPI].

The key elements to the proposal were the incentives that the city was prepared to offer.

  • Up to $500 million in Real Estate Tax Savings
  • 100% Personal Property Tax Exemption for Over Twenty Years
  • $1 Million in Job Creation Grant Funds
  • Quick and Streamlined permitting process

“Worcester combines the warmth of a small town with the vibrancy of a thriving metropolis,”  a joint letter from Mayor Joseph M. Petty and Augustus said. “A center of commerce, industry, healthcare and education, the city of Worcester is undergoing an economic resurgence and has repositioned itself in recent years to accommodate the needs of a dynamic economy.”

Although the proposal did not a get a full discussion during the council meeting, City Councilor At-Large Konstantina Lukes asked that it be put on the city’s website for the public to view.

The proposal was added to the site Wednesday morning and can be seen here.

District 3 City Councilor George Russell was disappointed at his lack of involvement in the proposal site selection and even stated that part of the site property was owned by a relative of his.

Proposed Site for Amazon Headquarters in Worcester

“I’m disappointed, quite frankly, this is in the heart of District 3,” Russell said during the meeting. “I was not consulted on any impacts there might be to this area and I’m disappointed very much that folks at least weren’t talked to about this.”

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Oct.18, Russell said, “I would have expected of any councilor to received a heads up for impact to the area and insight on the neighborhood.”

Russell said there are certain zoning issues that he has initially identified, wetland and conservation considerations and possible further development that may be needed outside the proposal to accommodate Amazon.

“It crosses zone lines and O’Hara Brook runs right through there,” Russell said. However, he added, “Am I against this coming? Of course not.”

 

Councilor At-Large Kate Toomey had a different viewpoint than her counterpart. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Worcester.  That [proposal site] has been underutilized for way too long.  It is an ideal location,” Toomey said.

When asked about the lack of involvement of the city council, Toomey agreed that the report being presented the way it was wasn’t ideal, but she approved of the proposal.

“I didn’t know what to say to people. However, the proposal needs to be accepted first. The devil will be in the detail and there will be plenty of opportunity for the people to speak,”  Toomey said.

Toomey added that the area of the proposed site has all the amenities that are needed for a successful bid. She outlined the proximity to the Massachusetts Turnpike, the train, and the sewer work that will be done along Rte. 20.  She also stated that the neighborhoods surrounding the headquarters will become prime residential real estate.

“People will be able to walk to work,” she said.

On Sept. 7, Amazon announced plans to open a second company headquarters in North America, Amazon HQ2. The project states that Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs over the initial 15-17 years of the project. Proposals are due to Amazon on October 19.

WORCESTER – The “silent majority” was a term that President Richard M. Nixon used in 1969 to garner support for the Vietnam War and ultimately his re-election in 1972.  The silent majority has delivered their voice over the last year once again with the election of President Donald J. Trump.  However, in Worcester’s Municipal Elections in 2015, there was a true silent majority that may have shaped the outcome of the election.

“I think that one of the most important elections that people can vote in are their local elections because the decisions made by local officials impact our daily lives. So I hope that as many people as possible get out to vote on November 7,” School Committee member Molly O. McCullough said in an interview on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The 2015 Municipal Election had a relatively high turnout at 21.35% of registered voters going to the polls.  In that essence, you would say the silent majority stayed home.  What the election results don’t say on the surface are the number of blank votes that were cast during that election.  Those ballots with less the maximum amount of votes could have vaulted a candidate, or cost a candidate, depending on who you ask.

In the Councilor-at-Large race, spots five through seven were determined by 160 votes.  There was a call for a recount for the sixth spot by candidate Juan Gomez who lost to eventual winner Councilor-at-Large Khrystian E. King by 76 votes.

In that race there were 119,724 votes cast.  Among those, 38,521 votes were blank, meaning that voters did not vote for six candidates on their ballot.  That total equaled to 32% of the votes cast in that race.

The number was greater on the School Committee side where blank votes totaled 49,865.  That came out to being 42% of the School Committee votes being blank.  The race for the School Committee race saw two incumbents ousted.  The difference between sixth and seventh place was 597 total votes.

Wards 3 through 6, which comprise Districts 2 and 3, had a 17% voter turnout.  The people that did come out to vote cast 12,793 blank votes in the at-large Election, which is 35% of the vote and 15,635 votes, or 39% in the School Committee race.

District 4 (Wards 7 and 9), had a 13% percent turnout.  Their blank vote total was 40% in the At-Large race and a 47% total in the  School Committee race.

It is safe to assume that there were a large amount of protest votes, commonly known as “bullet voting”, where voters vote for just one candidate and leave the rest blank.  It could be the reason why Councilor-at-Large Michael T. Gaffney vaulted from a sixth place finish in 2013, to a second place finish in 2015.  He also amassed 3,000 more votes.

It could be argued that approximately 15,000 more votes were cast in 2015, so Gaffney’s numbers would naturally go up.  Of the incumbents that were seeking re-election, the numbers did in fact go up, but not even half of what Gaffney received.

So was it the message or was it voter confusion?

“In terms of the blanks, it is entirely the voters choice. Our responsibility is to make the ballot directions clear and educate the voter on election day to understand that they can vote up to six candidates for at-large and school committee,”  Assistant City Clerk Niko Vangjeli said in an email on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The political atmosphere this time around is not nearly as intense as it was two years ago.  Gaffney has dropped out of the race and there are roughly 13,000 more voters.  The election could certainly come down to voter turnout.

“It’s hard to predict voter turnout. I cannot make any predictions at this time. However as an office we always prepare for 100%,” Vangjeli said.

WORCESTER – On Monday, City Councilor-at-Large Michael T. Gaffney, and his wife and District 4 city council candidate Coreen Gaffney announced they are withdrawing their names from their respective races for this upcoming municipal election on November 7.

This morning, we received very good news concerning an opportunity that we intend to pursue. It has been years in the making and we are so happy at our good fortune, but our celebration is dampened as we will no longer have the time needed to devote to city council.” the Gaffneys said in a released statement.

Michael Gaffney declined to add any further comment beyond the press release when contacted at his office.

This announcement now means that District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera will run unopposed to be elected to her fourth term on the City Council.

The At-Large race will now consist of seven candidates vying for six spots.  District 5 City Councilor Gary Rosen is seeking an At-Large post along with political new comer Benjamin R. Straight.  The other incumbents are all seeking re-election.

Dropping out of the race this close to the election, the Gaffney’s will still be on the ballot and eligible to receive votes.

About their names remaining on the ballot, the Gaffneys said, “It is our understanding that our names will remain on the ballot, but as we cannot fulfill the obligations of the office it would not be prudent to cast a vote for either of us.”

The Gaffney’s went on to thank their supporters and the residents of Worcester

“We have appreciated the support we have received from so many. As the second highest vote-getter last cycle, we’ve enjoyed the overwhelming support of the good people of Worcester,” the Gaffneys wrote.

 

WORCESTER – District 3 City Councilor George Russell has filed an order on tonight’s city council agenda which will bring the retail marijuana facilities back to the council floor.  District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson and District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera have joined Councilor Russell on the order.

The order is asking the City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr, when determining where the retail marijuana facilities be located in the city, to consider locating the facilities throughout all five districts in the city.

Russell’s major concern is that Districts 2, 3, and 4 — which have large commercial zone portions — will see the majority,if not all, the marijuana “pot shops”, which could be fifteen in total.  

“Recently the Administration provided a report suggesting that these facilities be zoned in certain areas. Much discussion needs to take place before areas are designated,” Russell said in an email on Monday, Oct. 9.

When this topic was brought up on the council floor last month it brought a serious debate regarding whether fifteen facilities was too much.  The state law that was voted in says that the minimum amount of retail shops a municipality can approve would need to equal a percentage of liquor licenses in that city or town, in Worcester’s case the number would be fifteen.

With the State rules allowing as many as 15 facilities in our city, I believe it is important for those facilities to be equally spread out over the entire city and not just concentrated in one or two areas,” Russell added.

In previous meetings, councilors questioned whether it could be less than fifteen and were advised by both the City Manager and City Solicitor David O. Moore that any decision on the amount of facilities to be less than fifteen would have to go to a referendum vote. City Councilor-at-Large Konstantina M. Lukes supported the idea of a special election saying people would have “voter’s remorse” on the topic.

Worcester Aid to Puerto Rico

City Councilor-at-Large Khrystian E. King is asking the City Manager to work with the Worcester Police Department, Worcester Fire Department and First Responders on sending workers to aid in Hurricane Relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  

“If we are able to do so without impacting operations of our first responders, due consideration should be conferred to the prospect of the City of Worcester aiding in relief efforts,” King said.

The deployment would be voluntary to anyone that wants to go in aid in those two islands. “We should do what we can to aid in these crisis of humanity,”  King added.

Not the Same Rules from the Conservation Commission

Councilor Russell has an additional order on the agenda that is asking for the Department of Public Works [DPW] to provide its policy for contractors doing work for the city on measures taken for erosion control near catch basins and environmentally sensitive area. Russell wants to know if they fall in line with what the Conservation Commission imposes on private contractors.

“I think the Contractors that work for the City should be asked to control erosion in a similar fashion to the policies that are mandated by the City Conservation Commission when a private person or company builds near a catch basin,” Russell said.

The request also includes if there is a difference of regulations between city and private contractors and reasons why.

“If the City doesn’t believe this is necessary then the City should rethink or at least streamline private development requirements,” Russell said.

Private contractors have long complained that the process to get permitting for work in these types of areas has taken too long.  The delays, depending on the time of year, could delay projects for several months to a year.

Police Bike Patrols

Councilor KIng has also filed an order asking the City Manager consider re-instating the Worcester Police Department [WPD] Bike Patrol, which has been absent for approximately for two years.

“Bike patrols are an effective community policing tool.  WPD has effectively employed them in the past,” King said.

King cited that the request for these units have been requested through the many neighborhood association meeting he attends.  The residents at those meetings have asked that these units be brought back.

“Closer relations and exposure to the public can be beneficial to all,”  King said.

Tonight’s meeting will start at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Esther Howland Chamber in Worcester’s City Hall.

WORCESTER – Always expect the unexpected when looking for something to do in Worcester.  That’s what local disc jockey Bryant “DJ” Cortes and his partners are looking to promote with their newly formed management company CBC Management, LLC.

On October 14, they will be having a pop-up event aptly named “the PopUp”.   Pop-up parties are unanticipated events in rare locations. They pop up and after a few hours — or in some cases days — they pop down.  It is the element of surprise in unexpected locations that distinguishes pop-up events.

The event will take place in the Ernest Johnson Tunnel at the intersection of Main & School Streets, which used to house the burnouts during the now defunct Summer Nationals.  In 2015, Preservation Worcester used the space for its Underground Ball.

Although the event is designed to be temporary, Cortes says there is a lot of planning that goes with it.

“We started from scratch,” Cortes said. “We have the proper permitting, have attended the proper meetings.  We want to do the right way.”

Cortes says that the city has been a great partner and have helped every step of the way.

“It brings a new social element to Worcester, like POW! WOW! Worcester.  These elements happen in big cities all the time,” Cortes said.

Cortes also plans to have local artist displaying their work at the event.

Even though this event has been heavily promoted and advertized, Cortes would like this venture turn into as he would say “true Pop Up fashion.”

“We would like to plan these every two to three months, and if all goes well we can branch out into other ventures,” Cortes said.

The event will feature three disc jockeys mixing a variety of music including Dance, Hip-Hop, Mash Ups, Latin Remixes and throwbacks.  It will also have two cash bars and food will be available through The Dog Father  and Tacos Mexico food trucks.

“There will be private security as well as detailed police presence,” Cortes said when asked if they had addressed any security concerns.

The group is bringing a different dynamic and atmosphere to boost the fledgling nightlife in downtown Worcester.

Doors open at 9:00 pm on Saturday October 14.  Tickets can be purchased online for $10 or they are $15 at the door.

You can get more info on their Facebook Page and they are also on Snapchat (the-popup) and Instagram (thepopupworc).