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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WORCESTER – The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday night, October 15.

Ahead of each City Council meeting, ThisWeekinWorcester.com [TWIW] will provide a preview 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 three items: whether the City can move Halloween, if some side streets should have speed bumps, and the prospect of Worcester hosting a Triple-A All-Star Game when the Red Sox arrive.

Moving Halloween to Saturday Might Have Some Legs

Though it seems many in Worcester would guffaw at such a thing as moving Halloween’s trick-or-treating activities to a day other than October 31, it appears as if the move may have some momentum.

Originally brought forward to the City Council back in early August by District 5 Councilor Matt Wally, at Tuesday’s council meeting it will be addressed again -- along with some important information from City Solicitor David Moore -- whether or not to move to Halloween to the last Saturday of October. 

According to Moore’s communication to the City Council, Halloween isn’t an official city, state or federal holiday and therefore isn’t governed by any city, state or federal laws.

Additionally, according to Moore, Mayor Joseph Petty is allowed to make a proclamation declaring that Halloween is the last Saturday in October. 

Although the mayor’s proclamation isn’t legally binding, it would give the City Council the legs it needs to move this change along. Moore also notes that Mayor Petty could continue to promote this change in his role as chair of the school committee and facilitate Worcester Public Schools sponsoring Halloween events on the last Saturday of October. 

Due to the public safety issue at the heart of Councilor Wally’s original request, City Manager Edward Augustus will meet with Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargent and WPS Superintendent Maureen Binienda to discuss the issue further.

Wally Proposes Speed Bumps on Side Streets to Slow Drivers Down

Councilor Wally has another item on Tuesday’s agenda regarding speed bumps.

Wally is requesting the City Manager to ask DPW Commissioner Paul Moosey to research temporary speed bumps and the possibility of using them on residential streets that have a high volume of traffic with cars traveling above the speed limit. 

According to Wally’s request, the city of Lawrence and the towns of Braintree and Belmont already use the speed bumps.

The speed bumps would be seasonal and removed in the winter. 

 

Triple-A All Star Game at Worcester's Polar Park

District 1 City Councilor Sean Rose is requesting that the City reach out to the Red Sox brass and request that Polar Park host the Triple-A All-Star game during the inaugural season of the Worcester Red Sox in 2021.

Unfortunately, that season's All-Star game is already slated to be hosted by the Round Rock Express at Dell Diamondin Round Rock, Texas. 

However, Rose is correct in trying to spark a conversation with the MLB about bringing the All-Star game to Worcester as soon as possible. It doesn't appear there's a location set yet for the 2022 game, so here's to hoping Worcester can lock that down soon.

 

 


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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 tonight, Tuesday, April 2 at Worcester's City Hall. 

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 Councilor At-Large Konnie Lukes with two orders and a resolution to further the discussion on police in schools and the feasibility of city council oversight of the school department, District 1 Councilor Sean Rose's request for a new soccer field in Great Brook Valley, District 5 Councilor Matt Wally wants to see the city develop a renters database, District 2 Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson wants to improve the playground at Lake View School and the Committee on Public Safety is requesting a map to show where youth violence incidents occur. 

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      1. Lake View School Wants Better View from School

District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson is requesting City Manager Edward Augustus to look into possible upgrades and improvements that can be made at the Lake View playground which currently consists of a small field, a basketball court and a small playground structure. [SEE PHOTO]

April 2, 2019 Matt Wally
View of Lake View Park from Lake View School/Photo: Patrick Sargent

      2. Councilor Wants All of the Info on Student Resource Officers in Schools - 

City Councilor At-Large Konstantina Lukes is requesting that Augustus state the liability that exists if the Council was to oversee the school department's practices, policies or programs. At last week's meeting, City Solicitor David Moore gave the legal opinion that the City Council had no jurisdiction at all over school department issues. 

Lukes is also requesting Augustus to report on the payment for costs and salaries for the SROs and the amounts paid in the past two years from the city budget. In last week's story, Augustus said the school department has appropriated $120,000 each year since 1994 and has paid the Worcester Police Department for school liaison service. The Worcester Police cover all of the remaining expenses — upwards of $1 million per year, according to Augustus  — that are generated by the school liaison program.

Finally, Lukes added a resolution to the agenda requesting that the Worcester City Council endorse the use of SROs/police officers in public buildings as determined by the city administration as necessary to preserve public safety. 

3. A Great Big Soccer Field at Great Brook Valley

District 1 Councilor Sean Rose is requesting that the City consider creating a rectangular soccer field next to the Roberto Clemente baseball/softball field at Great Brook Valley on the Northeast Cutoff. [See Photo]

Worcester City Council Preview: Police in Schools, Renters Database and Youth Violence 4

          4. Where’s the Rent? That’s What Wally Wants to Know

District 5 City Councilor Matt Wally is requesting that Commissioner of Inspectional Services John Kelly to develop a rental registry for non-owner occupied residential properties. In an interview with the Telegram & Gazette last week, Wally said that the registry would ensure that all rental housing in Worcester is in compliance with the state’s sanitary codes and are live-able for residents..

            5. A Map to Youth Violence

The standing committee on public safety — which includes City Councilors At-Large Kate Toomey and Moe Bergman, and District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera — are requesting that the City and the Worcester Police Dept. develop a map to illustrate where youth violence incidents occur and to make that map available to the City Council.

Presently, the WPD uses crimereports.com to map police calls for violent and property crimes, quality of life alerts, and more. Each Sunday, ThisWeekinWorcester.com provides a weekly crime map so residents can see what’s occurring in their neighborhoods. 

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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WORCESTER - On Thursday, Feb. 28, the Public Works Committee will hold a public meeting to hear comments from Worcester residents regarding its Comprehensive Clean City Program -- with a proposed plan to adopt clear plastic bags in place of the City's current 18-gallon recycling buckets.

The Committee members - District 3 City Councilor George Russell, District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson, and City Councilor At-Large Matt Wally -- along with other City Council members [notably District 1 Councilor Sean Rose across social media] are encouraging the public to come share their opinions on the proposal.

The meeting begins at 5:30 PM in the Levi Lincoln Chamber at Worcester's City Hall - 455 Main St.

What is the City's Proposal? 

The Clean City Program proposes the following at an additional $1.2 million in costs of on top of the already nearly $8 million in FY19 for Sanitation Programs.

From City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.: “In order to fund the initiatives proposed and address the continually escalating cost of the City recycling program, we plan to propose an increase in the trash bag fee of .50 cents per bag in FY20. Based on the usage of bags in recent weeks, this will result in an average increased cost of 53 cents per week. Since the implementation of the ‘pay-as-you-throw’ program in 1993, the bag fee has only increased twice, with the last increase occurring 10 years ago.”

According to the Department of Public Works, switching to clear plastic recycling bags will result in an increase of trash bag revenues of around $1.4 million. This increase will decrease the tax levy support of the sanitation programs by nearly six percent in FY20.

April 2, 2019 Matt Wally
Sanitation Budget from the City of Worcester

 

With every roll of five large City trash bags and with every roll of ten small City trash bags, three 32-gallon drawstring recycling bags will be included. According to the DPW, “This option gives residents a combination of bags that should not result in having an oversupply of clear bags or an oversupply of City trash bags.”

However, if the amount of recycling bags isn’t sufficient enough for a resident, rolls of ten recycling bags will be for sale at the same retailers for $1.50.

April 2, 2019 Matt Wally
Current and Future Trash Bag Revenue from City of Worcester

Pros and Cons of Clear Recycling Bags and implementation of Cleaner City Program: 

Pros:

  1. Cleaner streets [less recyclables being blown away]
  2. Easier to pack recyclables away

Cons: 

  1. Additional expense of $0.50 per roll of trash bags [additional expenses for multi-family homes]

For further information, please see City's full proposal here.

Lead Image: Flickr/Robert Lingner

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