In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.
These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.
In today’s edition — Friday, Nov. 15 — the city’s getting a big bump from the state for the Pickett parking lot and gateway, visits to Central Massachusetts shell out more than the state average, Love Your Labels fashion show is coming to the EcoTarium, city and state employees can get certified for free in cannabis control at Clark and Rocky’s is reopening!
Rocky’s Ace Hardware Reopens Worcester Store in New Location
Rocky’s Ace Hardware, a family-owned business with neighborhood-based stores in seven states, has reopened its Worcester store in a new location, at 393 Chandler St. After talks with a landlord, Rocky’s secured a lease that would enable them to “meet the needs of the community long into the future.”
“We’re excited to be returning to the Worcester area,” said Rocky’s Ace Hardware President Rocco Falcone. “Worcester has long been one of our favorite communities, and now we can contribute again to the daily life of our customers in their neighborhoods.”
Rocky’s, which specializes in paint, hardware, lawn and garden, and grilling supplies, previously had a location at 638 Chandler St. in Worcester, pushed out when a nearby business expanded. Rocky’s new, 15,000 square-foot building, has a renovated interior and storefront.
“Our customers wanted us back in Worcester, and we made sure to meet that need as soon as we could,” said Falcone. “We have a big, welcoming, well-stocked store that we invite local residents to visit.”
Rocky’s new Worcester location, at 393 Chandler Street, opens Monday November 25th and will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
State Gives $3.5 Million MassWorks Infrastructure Award to Worcester Project
The Pickett parking area and the gateway to the revitalized Canal District is going to be extra fine and fancy after a sizable gift from the state.
On Thursday, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty, Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. and other local and state leaders at Worcester City Hall to announce a $3.5 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant.
MassWorks funding supports site prep and construction on a city-owned and maintained parcel known as General Pickett parking lot. The shovel-ready project reconfigures an existing city parking lot with new street paving, relocation of utilities, installation of concrete sidewalks with granite curbs, and also contributes to placemaking and ADA accessibility. The plaza will serve as a gateway into the new Polar Park minor league baseball facility and the adjacent Left Field Office building.
“MassWorks is a valuable program that maximizes return on investment for capital funding, delivering vital infrastructure repairs that improve public safety while stimulating local and private development, job growth and housing production,” said Baker. “We will continue to collaborate closely with local leaders to identify opportunities and target public resources toward the growth and wellbeing of communities across the Commonwealth.”
The Baker-Polito Administration’s support has extended beyond the Canal District to other important projects throughout the city, including supporting business incubator space at 44 Portland Street and the redevelopment of Hanover Theater.
Additionally, the state has provided over $43 million in MassWorks infrastructure grants to support projects throughout Worcester to improve the Main Street Central Business District, relocate Stearns Tavern, upgrades to the Front and Center section of City Square, and the long-term redevelopment of the Nurses’ Wing at the Worcester Senior Center.
Love Your Labels Youth Fashion Showcase to Take Place at the EcoTarium
On Saturday, Nov. 16, from 1-4 p.m., Love Your Labels presents THREADS: Woven Together – a youth fashion show and exhibit that explores the science of fashion. Taking place at the EcoTarium, the fashion show features statement pieces made by the inaugural class of THREADS, a fashion design and youth identity development program taught by Project Runway Allstar’s Sam Donovan and Love Your Labels’ education team. Attendees will also get to participate in a forum on fashion with Sam Donovan.
Attendees are also encouraged to participate in the EcoTarium’s first ever Drag Queen Planetarium Experience, “Like, How Stellar is Space?” hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 queen and Worcester native, Joslyn Fox.
Visitors Spend More In Central Massachusetts Than State Average
Discover Central Massachusetts is happy to report that the Central Mass. Region has outpaced the state average growth in visitor spending according to figures provided by the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism.
Between 2014 and 2018, the 35 communities serviced by Discover Central Massachusetts, which includes the city of Worcester, have experienced a 20.3 percent increase in domestic and international traveler direct spending. During the same period, the Commonwealth has grown by 17.8 percent.
“We’re encouraged by these numbers as we continue our efforts to make Worcester and the region a popular destination within New England,” Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. said. “ We look to increase tourism even further with the addition of Polar Park and the Worcester Red Sox in 2021 as well as another new hotel in Washington Square.”
In 2018, travelers visiting from 50 or more miles from their home, or who have stayed overnight in paid accommodations, spent $626 million in the Central Mass. region. This spending supported 3,741 jobs and generated more than $32 million in state taxes and nearly $14 million in local taxes. These taxes include retail sales, rooms, meals, gas, property, payroll, excise, among others.
“What we’re seeing from the impact of tourism is very positive. Worcester is outpacing the state average growth in visitor spending and the city is experiencing significant economic impact from these tourism dollars. Hotel demand remains strong, even with so many new rooms coming online,” said Troy Siebels, president of The Hanover Theatre and chair of the Discover Central Massachusetts board of directors.
Clark University Makes Grad Certificate in Cannabis Control Free for State and City Employees
Clark University announced that beginning in January, it will allow Massachusetts state and municipal employees with undergraduate degrees the opportunity to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control free of charge. Credits for all three of the online courses required for the certificate will be transferrable either to the Master of Public Administration or the online MPA Senior Leadership Program.
Clark launched the first-in-the-nation graduate certificate program last summer.
The program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of public policy issues involved in the cultivation, distribution, sales and regulation of adult use and medicinal-use cannabis. The online program, which began this fall, can be completed in two semesters.
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