City Council Preview: Newton Square, WooSox, School Walkability, and more

 by TWIW StaffOctober 4, 2021

WORCESTER - The Worcester City Council meets at 5 PM on Tuesday, October 5.

Here are several items of interest for residents of the city on the agenda Tuesday night: District 1 city councilor Sean Rose is asking the city to consider renovating Newton Square and to generate a school "walkability" plan, councilor at-large Moe Bergman is requesting the city to use ARPA funds for one-time $5,000 bonuses to all essential city employees who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Joe Petty is proposing a public hearing to discuss the highs and lows of the first Worcester Red Sox season and 22 restaurants have received reimbursement for their outdoor dining setup.


Councilor Rose Calls for Complete Renovation of Newton Square

District 1 city councilor Sean Rose is asking the City Manager to work with the DPW Commissioner Jay Fink to generate a report concerning the costs and planning for a complete renovation of the Newton Square rotary.

The rotary is at the intersection of five streets: Pleasant, Highland, June, Coolidge and Newton. At the center of the rotary is a World War II memorial.

Tens of thousands of vehicles pass through the rotary each day. In 2013, WPI released a report showing the current rotary was "failing" traffic in the area and causing confusion.


Rose Requests School 'Walkability' Plan

Councilor Rose is also asking the City Manager to work with Commission Fink on a school walkability plan

The plan would focus on the areas of the city where there are no sidewalks in the "walk zones" where students can walk from home to school.


Councilor Bergman Calls on City to Consider Issuing $5,000 COVID Bonuses

Councilor At-Large Moe Bergman is asking the city to consider using a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act [ARPA] funding to provide a one-time "Premium Pay" bonus to essential city workers who worked during the COVID-19 crisis.

The bonuses would be for $5,000 each and would include city workers in public health, public safety and public works.

ARPA allocated Worcester $110 million in funding to Worcester.

The City held five public input sessions from late August to the end of September for residents to provide input on how the city's ARPA funding should be used. An online survey was also available on the city's website during that time.


Mayor Petty Asks for Public Meeting on WooSox Inaugural Season

The Worcester Red Sox officially ended their season over the weekend. Their last homestand at Polar Park was Sept. 22-26.

Mayor Joe Petty is asking for the city to schedule a public meeting in the Canal District to give city and team officials an opportunity to discuss with residents the successes and lessons learned over the WooSox first season.

The WooSox say they finished in the Top 10 in attendance in minor league baseball during their inaugural season.


22 Restaurants Receive Reimbursement for Outdoor Dining Setup

Through the Outdoor Dining Grant Program from the city's Executive Office of Economic Development, 22 restaurants will receive $2,000 each ($44,000 total to date) as reimbursements to the costs of the outdoor dining setups.

Nine other businesses are awaiting reimbursement.

According to the city, 52% of the grantees are women-owned and 52% are minority-owned.

The Worcester Business Development Corporation, UniBank and Fidelity Bank provided the funding for the grants.

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