WORCESTER – The Worcester City Council meets tonight, Tuesday, March 26, and will follow an agenda put forward by City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.

In our newest feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com will provide a preview of the upcoming meeting every Tuesday morning to help keep readers informed of the on-goings of the city’s governing body.

Each preview will highlight five items from the City Council agenda for that week that haven’t already been covered by TWIW.

See Also: Street Sweeping to Begin April 1 in Worcester

This week’s preview consists of an update from the City’s economic development team, a hopeful date of when the city’s sports fields and parks can open up, recent work by the Dept. of Health to curb the Hepatitis A outbreak, planning for the City’s Arbor Day celebration, and the annual Sound the Alarm program from the Worcester Fire Dept.

1. Economic Development Update

Highlights:

  • The Canal District Ballpark Project has found its design process team: Skanska USA, Inc. – Owner’s Project Manager; D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Associates – designer and the construction manager at risk contract to Gilbane-Hunt, a joint venture.
  • The Executive Office of Economic Development has implemented a Businesses Improvement District (BID) for the Theatre District. The BID Board of Directors have narrowed the search for an Executive Director and an announcement is expected soon. In addition, the BID is in the process of awarding a contract for a vendor that will provide a majority of the enhanced services for the BID. The launch of services is expected in May.
  • The Worcester Redevelopment Authority entered into a 10-year lease with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in January 2019 to house the Cannabis Control Commission at Union Station. Improvements to the approximately 15,000 square feet of office space are anticipated to begin in late spring 2019. This marks the first state agency to be headquartered in Worcester.

2. Open Date for City’s Sports Fields

The City anticipates that park facilities and sports fields will open on Friday, April 12 — barring any inclement weather before then that may delay the opening. The City is waiting for all of the snow to melt and for the turf to dry enough to support any equipment.

According to Augustus, the DPW will attempt to open fields that dry out sooner and can be utilized without resulting in irreparable damage.

In a communication to the City Manager,  DPW&P Commissioner Paul Moosey said, “DPW&P will make every effort to accelerate this current anticipated date should weather conditions improve compared to the long term forecast. In most years, DPW&P opens all sport fields on the same day.”

3.  Hepatitis A Cases are Declining in City — 

Based on information from the Dept. of Health and Human Services and other agencies throughout the City, the City Manager will announce that the confirmed numbers of Hepatitis A cases in the city are declining.

From the City Manager:

The statistics below indicate that the collective efforts of the City and dedicated community partners is having a positive impact:

  • No new cases of Hepatitis A were reported for the week of 3/9/19-3/15/19.
  • Case count for Hepatitis A since 06/01/2018: 59 confirmed, 5 suspect/probable and 4 revoked (running tally).
  • Vaccination/outreach efforts by WDPH, QOL and community partners are yielding results—ONLY 1 Hepatitis case confirmed case since 2/1/19 which is a significant decrease from November/December when 15 confirmed cases were reported each month.
  • No cases of Meningitis have been reported in Worcester.
  • Vaccinations given for this population during this effort:

                o Hepatitis A – 500 (through WDPH and Walgreens

               o Hepatitis A – 4,500 and counting at UMass (all sites) with 200 of those at UMass Emergency Department

               o Meningococcal – 41

               o Flu – 9

4. Arbor Day Celebration

The 2019 Arbor Day Celebration will be held on the Worcester Common on Friday, April 26, 2019 at 10 AM.

The event will include planting a tree on the Common — one of over 200 trees scheduled to be planted this Spring in Worcester. The DPW will be coordinating the event with the Worcester Tree Initiative, theCommonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Urban and Community Forestry Program, USDA, and other organizations.

5. Sound the Alarm!

Every Spring, the Public Education Division of the Worcester Fire Dept. runs its annual campaign — the Sound the Alarm Program — in conjunction with the American Red Cross to go around the city and install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms where needed.

Residents are welcome to call the WFD Public Education Division at 508-799-1754 to request a home visit. The WFD will install alarms as needed.

Be sure to also check out: City Solicitor: City Council Has no Say in Police Officers at Worcester Schools

The City Council meeting will take place at 6:30 PM at the Esther Howland Chamber at City Hall — 455 Main St.

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  • City Council Preview: Economic Development, Smoke Alarms & Hepatitis 1

    Patrick Sargent is the founder and lead reporter for ThisWeekinWorcester.com. He was born and raised on Grafton Hill and is a graduate of Holy Name high school and Worcester State University. Over the past two years, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Previous to that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He is the owner of Sargent Media, LLC and can be contacted at [email protected] or 774-232-1223.