Worcester City Council Preview: Nips, Free Rides, & Tower Guards

by | Jun 11, 2019 | Headlines, News, Politics

WORCESTER – The Worcester City Council meets tonight, Tuesday, June 11.

Each week, ThisWeekinWorcester.com [TWIW] will provide a preview of the upcoming meeting to help keep readers informed of the on-goings of the city’s governing body.

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

This week’s preview consists of deposits on “nips,” the status of WRTA’s “The W” free-ride program, the movement of divisions, councils and committees to be overseen by City Manager’s Office, and a councilor is proposing a “sporadic” police presence at Bancroft Tower Park.

Deposits on Nips to Stop Littering

If I had a nickel for every time the word “nips” was said at a City Council meeting…

You’ve seen them on the ground. Empty nip bottles in city parks and along the curbs and gutters of Worcester’s streets.

District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera is hoping to put an end to the littering of these small bottles of alcohol and has requested that the City Manager consider placing a deposit on nips to help reduce the amount of litter scattered through the city.

Specifically, Councilor Rivera requests “an update concerning whether the city has considered looking at and implementing some of the best practices other communities use to reduce the amount of litter created from miniature alcohol bottles, or “nips,” such as putting deposits on the bottles.”

Councilor Rivera’s request is not without precedent. Early this year, Gloucester’s City Council voted unanimously to request the state to support a 5-cent deposit on nip bottles and plastic water bottles.


Is Anyone Taking a Free Ride in Worcester?

Councilor Rivera, part deux.

In a request to the City Manager, Councilor Rivera is asking for a report concerning the status of the WRTA’s free ride program for participants aged 8 to 24.

Rivera is also asking if the program, called “The W”, will continue this summer. 

Bancroft Tower Guards Coming?

District 1 City Councilor Sean Rose is requesting the City Manager to consider placing a “sporadic” police presence at Bancroft Tower Park.

Looking at data from Crimereports.com, this may not be a bad idea from Councilor Rose. In the past six months, there have only been seven reported incidents on Bancroft Tower Rd. However, four of them occurred recently in just over a month span  — from May 4 to June 9 — and include three reports of disorderly conduct and one report of indecent exposure. 

In a phone interview on Sunday, June 9, Councilor Rose said, “It’s that time of year. When the weather gets warmer, people tend to head up there. I always say, unlike any of our other parks in the city, ‘You can’t be doing anything good if you’re up at Bancroft Tower after dark.'”

Bancroft Tower offers public tours every Sunday in October. So for 11 months out of the year, the Tower just stands there unoccupied and, typically, unwatched. 

It’s 56-feet tall, so obviously there are some safety concerns there, not to mention the unwanted visits by people [non-tourists] that aren’t supposed to be on the grounds.


Shuffling the City Manager’s Deck of Committees

City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. is recommending the reorganization of several committees and divisions, as well as reducing the membership of a committee.

The City Manager is asking to take the Cable Services and the Cultural Development Divisions, along with the Cable Television Advisory Committee and the Worcester Arts Council from their current place in the Executive Office of Economic Development, and to move them under his oversight — the Executive Office of the City Manager.

And in This Week in Ironic Worcester, Augustus is also hoping to fulfill a request made by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to change their membership from nine members to seven members.

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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. Previous to starting TWIW, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Before that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He can be contacted at [email protected]