WORCESTER – The Worcester City Council will officially ring in the New Year and the newly seated council when it meets on Tuesday, Jan. 9. It will be a jam-packed agenda as both councilors and City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. have many items on the agenda.
District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera has an order on the agenda asking City Manager Edward M. Augustus to consider implementing prostitution stings in the city. However, Rivera is proposing targeting johns and not the prostitutes themselves.
“We need to decrease the demand,” Rivera said in a phone interview on Jan. 5.
Rivera is concerned of the areas in her district where this action is taking place within close proximity to schools. She also pointed out that it is a public health and safety issue, but her main focus is defeating the act of prostitution altogether.
“The purchasing of human beings,” Rivera said. “That is predatory behavior.”
Rivera also said that she has already been to many meetings in the community to come up with a plan to combat this issue and expects many people to come and testify before the city council on Tuesday night. She feels that by targeting johns it will reduce the demand, thus reducing prostitution.
“You would never set up a ski shop in Barbados,” Rivera said.
Rivera knows that such a task will take many resources, but feels that combatting this issue is in the city’s best interest.
Snow Removal in the Parks
At-Large City Councilor Gary Rosen is asking that the standing committee on Youth, Parks and Recreation — in which Rosen is the chair — review the policies of access to the City’s Parks during the winter.
“Even during the cold and stormy winter months, many of our parks are used by rugged residents and taxpayers,” Rosen said in an email. “However, even though some parks appear to be open, entrances, exits and parking lots sometimes are not sanded, salted or plowed.”
Rosen cited that Boynton Park’s access road is plowed but the lot at the end of the road is not leaving residents with a place to park if they were to utilize the park for any reason.
“Let’s have [the committee] review and suggest possible updates to the city’s policies in regard to winter park access and use,” Rosen said.
City Parks Master Plan
Another item regarding the city’s parks, also brought forth by Councilor Rosen, is again asking that the standing committee on Youth, Parks and Recreation prioritize the work that remains on parks that have a master plan.
“The parks Master Plans takes years to compile with local residents, business and other organizations to discuss the needs with the city of the park in question. Once the plan is in place it needs to be put into action and that’s where some city residents feel there is a bottleneck. More often the plans do not get fully implemented due to funding,” Rosen said.
“Some neighbors and park users feel that they were promised certain amenities and upgrades to their park but that the city has reneged,” he added.
Rosen would like to see the standing committee review those plans and what work remains and prioritize that work when funds become available.
Prior to the City Council meeting there will be an unveiling of the Worcester Public Library’s new “mobile library” named “Libby.”
The “Libby” Mobile Library is a collaboration of the City of Worcester, the Worcester Public Library, the Worcester Public Library Foundation and the College of the Holy Cross.
The artwork for Libby was done by Key Detail who is a Belarusian artist who has worked Worcester’s POW! WOW! among other organizations globally.
Tuesday’s meeting will start at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Esther Howland Chamber in Worcester’s City Hall.