WORCESTER - The city-wide mask mandate in Worcester is not quite rescinded, after all.

City Manager Ed Augustus' office announced on Friday, February 11, that the Board of Health will meet on Wednesday, February 16, at 6:30 PM, to again for a second time on the mask mandate, which applies to public spaces in the city.

When the Board of Health met in its February 7 meeting, former City Councilor Gary Rosen had yet to take the oath of office after being recently appointed to the board. He was ineligible to vote at that time.

Rosen was sworn in on February 10 and will be eligible to vote the next meeting on February 16. That meeting will be held in a virtual format.

The one agenda item for the meeting on February 16 is "Request the Board of Health to rescind city-wide mask mandate to take effect February 18, 2022.”

As ThisWeekinWorcester.com previously reported, the vote taken on February 7 resulted in a decision to rescind the mandate by a 3-2 vote.

Rosen voted to rescind the mandate.

If all board members vote as they did on February 7, the mask mandate will be rescinded on February 18.

Rosen Riding Bus Pilot Program for Public Hearings

At-Large Councilor Gary Rosen isn't stepping off the gas when it comes to his push to adopt recommendations made by the Worcester Research Bureau for a fare-free bus system.

Rosen is requesting the public service and transportation committee -- of which he is chair of -- to hold public hearings throughout the city to explore ideas brought forward in the Research Bureau's report last year. 

In his request, Rosen writes, "As in several other cities and towns across America, it is expected that such a change would significantly increase ridership, reliability and efficiency, among others."

Wally Calls for Improvements at Two Worcester Fields

The second half of 2019 was FILLED with ribbon cuttings at parks across the city. Now, District 5 City Councilor Matt Wally is asking to get in on the action in his district. 

Wally is asking City Manager Ed Augustus to develop plans for making improvements to Duffy Field and Foley Stadium in an effort to increase the availability of athletic fields.

Now that Foley Stadium is off the new Doherty High radar, it would seemingly make sense to pump some money into some new seats which it desperately needs. 

For those not familiar with Duffy field, it's a nice neighborhood park with a baseball diamond and a small playground. It's tucked away off Newton Square between Newton Ave. and Chalmers St. 



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5 Tips for Winter Bird Watching in Massachusetts

Sunday was "National Bird Day" and although you may have missed it, the rest of the winter is still a great time to bird watch across the state.

The state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has released these 5 tips for winter bird watching:

  1. Plan for the weather. - Wear plenty of layers. 
  2. Remembering bird watching ethics. - Don't get too close to scare the birds away. 
  3. Enjoy time away from the crowds. - Visit parks, beaches and other areas that people likely aren't going to be during the winter months. 
  4. Use the right equipment. - Bring binoculars and a bird guide. 
  5. Connect with other birders. - Use social media to share your experiences and plan group birdwalks.


It's the peak of winter, but there's no slowing down construction at Kelley Square.

This week, traffic will be shifted to the north side of Madison St. to open up a work zone on the south side. Tw0-way traffic with a single lane on either side will be maintained. 

Drivers in the area should be alert for dump trucks frequently crossing Madison St. from the Polar Park construction site. 

For a full schedule of construction activity, click here

Economic Development Office to Announce Program Grant

On Thursday, January 9, the state's housing and economic development office will be at the WorcLab in the Printers Building on Portland St.

The office will be announcing a Collaborative Workspaces program grant for the space.

Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of MassDevelopment, Bob Ruzzo, will be present and will deliver remarks. The event takes place at 9 AM. 


Free Game for Worcester Kids at Holy Cross on Wednesday

The Holy Cross women's basketball team is playing Lafayette at 11 AM on Wednesday, January 8. 

All tickets will be free for school students.

The Lady Crusaders are undefeated at home and 9-4 overall on the season.


New Tradition to Host Glazy Susan Pop-Up on Sunday

Everyone's favorite pop-up donut shop in Worcester will be setting up at New Traditions Company on Sunday morning from 9 AM to 11 AM.

The coffee shop is located at 7 Jackson St. in Worcester. 


January 6, 2020 Gary Rosen

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Cousy Statue in the Works?

City Councilor At-Large Moe Bergman and District 5 City Councilor Matt Wally both have requests on this week's agenda to honor former Boston Celtics and Holy Cross basketball star Bob Cousy.

Wally is requesting that the City Manager consider working with the City's Civic Center Commission on the designing a monument in honor of Cousy to be placed outside the DCU Center in downtown Worcester.

Cousy has a bronze statue of his likeness in front of the Hart Center at Holy Cross. That statue was placed at the school in 2008.

Bergman is requesting that the City Manager and Mayor Joe Petty recognize Cousy on the recent announcement that he is being chosen as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Drones! Drones Everywhere!

The future is officially upon us in the City of Worcester. Not one, but two items on Tuesday night's agenda request the use of drones in public safety.

Councilor Bergman is requesting that the City Manager speak with WPD Chief Steve Sargent to explore the advantages of using drones for public safety -- and singles out the potential need for drones surrounding the development of Polar Park.

Councilor At-Large Kate Toomey is also requesting that the City Manager, Chief Sargent and Fire Chief Michael Lavoie consider how other cities use drones and robots to help save time and provide safety to first responders.

Toomey believes the use of this technology could potentially result in cost savings for the City.


Pickleball Coming to a Tennis Court Near You

On Tuesday night's agenda, Councilor At-Large Gary Rosen is requesting that the parks and recreation committee consider the cost of resurfacing the Newton Square tennis courts to be used for both tennis and pickleball.

Pickleball, according to Rosen [and pictured above], is a paddleball sport that uses elements from tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

Always an advocate for "beautiful District five," Rosen is typically on the pulse of what the residents on that side of the city are asking for and apparently the need for pickleball courts is a real thing.


Lead photo: Ron B/Flickr

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WORCESTER - The Worcester City Council meets tomorrow night, Tuesday, June 25.

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 another push for soccer to be played in the City, mini-parking lots to help crowded neighborhoods, and the City presents the plan for Grafton St. reconstruction.

City Wants to Promote Soccer this Summer

The week’s City Council agenda has two items that aim to promote playing soccer in Worcester.

City Councilor At-Large Gary Rosen is requesting that the Parks and Recreation Committee consider methods to finance more soccer fields in the city.

Mayor Joseph Petty also has an item about soccer -- but, off the field. Petty’s agenda item is asking the DPW to look into “portable street soccer set ups for pop-up recreation purposes in our parks.”

One could argue that it's not the lack of fields in the City -- or the lack of soccer set-ups -- that kids aren't playing soccer in Worcester. A simpler solution may be to support efforts like the Worcester World Cup or invest more money into Recreation Worcester to provide a year-round soccer program. 

Lukes has Idea for Mini Lots for Parking in the City

City Councilor At-Large Konnie Lukes is asking the City Manager for a report of land owned by the City to see if these locations can be used for “mini parking lots.”

Lukes is eyeing parcels of City-owned land in crowded neighborhoods and thinks that these mini-lots will help relieve congested parking.

We’re looking forward to hearing more from Councilor Lukes -- specifically we want to know if  these lots will be free parking and in what neighborhoods is she hoping to see them installed. 


DPW Commissioner Moosey Provides Update on Grafton St. Improvement Plan

As ThisWeekinWorcester.com reported earlier this month, Grafton St. will be repaved and reconstructed beginning next Spring.

According to the City, the $8.4 million project will be overseen by MassDOT and will include safety and streetscape improvements. The improvements will run from Rice Square to the Washington Square rotary. 

For a full report on the Grafton St. Improvement plan, check out TWIW's feature from June 13 here. 


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WORCESTER – The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday, April 23 after a week off due to April vacation.

Each week, ThisWeekinWorcester.com 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 five items from the City Council agenda for that week that haven’t already been covered by TWIW.

This week’s preview consists of ways the City address chronic homelessness, what we should do about electric scooters when they inevitably invade the city, the return of a spring clean-up after a one year hiatus, bring a film festival to Worcester, and restoring the Burnside Fountain (Turtle Boy statue) to its former glory.

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1. Who are Worcester’s Homeless and where are they from?

The Committee on Public Health and Human Services has three requests to the City Manager to address chronic homelessness in the City.

  1. Provide an updated report concerning what the city administration is doing to address chronic homelessness.
  2. Find out how many of the chronically homeless individuals that the city’s homeless outreach staff work with are from Worcester.
  3. Find out what the Massachusetts Department of Correction and Worcester County Sherriff’s Department are doing to ensure that former inmates aren’t ending up homeless. 


2. The scooters are coming?

City Councilor At-Large Gary Rosen has an order on this week’s agenda requesting that the City Manager research and establish rules and regulations just in case electric scooter companies invade Worcester.

Rosen references two companies, Bird and Lime. They are on-demand electric scooter rental services. These scooters are meant for city-use and go about 15 mph. Lime scooters can be found in 15 Massachusetts cities (Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, Winthrop). Bird scooters can be found in Brookline.

If we remember what happened with our yellow Ofo bikes, the City could avoid potential disaster here.

3. Spring Clean-up Redux?

A second item from Rosen -- a request of the City Manager to provide a report on the feasibility and cost of doing a leaf pickup program in the spring.

Spring leaf cleanup used to be a thing in Worcester. The City removed it this year for budget purposes. So it is feasible operationally, but the money probably isn’t there.

And for those residents with Christmas trees dumped at the curb, please move them. By all means, please drop it off here: Yard Waste Drop Off.


4. Long live Turtle Boy?

No, not that Turtle Boy. But the original.

District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson is requesting that the City consider restoring the Burnside Fountain at the corner of Franklin and Church Streets in downtown Worcester.

Mero-Carlson is asking to see what it would take for the statue to return to full operational use, including use of the sculpture as a fountain.


5. A 48-Film Festival Right Here in Worcester

District 1 City Councilor Sean Rose is requesting the City Manager to get in touch with the 48 Hour Film Project to see if Worcester could host an event.

The 48-hour Film Project is an annual film competition - placing teams of filmmakers together to make a movie - write, shoot, and edit - in just 48 hours.

The film competition is currently in more than 50 cities across America [and more internationally], including Boston and Providence.

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