Worcester City Council Preview: A Hardware Store to Call Home, & More

by | Apr 9, 2019 | Headlines, News, Politics

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WORCESTER – The Worcester City Council meets tonight, Tuesday, April 9, and will follow an agenda put forward by City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.

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.

This week’s preview consists of a TIF for PremaTech, a TIE for the former Elwood Adams Hardware store building, a $250k energy grant, a rule change for City Councilors and one Main St. business owner that can’t see the writing on the wall.

1. The City Manager is requesting that the City Council approve PremaTech Advanced Ceramic for a TIF – Tax Increment Financing Plan – and the housing development project at the former Elwood Adams hardware store building on Main St for a TIE – Tax Increment Exemption.

According to the City Manager, PremaTech — located at 160 Goddard Memorial Drive inside the Airport Industrial Park – is looking to construct a 9,000 sq foot expansion that will create 14 new, full-time jobs with salaries of at least $35,000 and half of the jobs with a salary of at least $60k per year. The proposed TIF is for ten years with a 40% exemption percentage on the increment annually. PremaTech is a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE).

Elwood Main, LLC is pursuing a market-rate housing development project at 154-156 Main Street. The proposed TIE plans for a 30% exemption for ten years. The proposed project would consist of $4 million in private investment to construct 13 one-bedroom apartments in downtown Worcester.

2. The City Council has requested an amendment to the Rules of the City Council, giving a motion to file an order a higher priority than motions to refer, recommit, amend or adopt.

The change to this rule will give the Council quicker access on the Council floor so as to avoid long, tedious debates over each item.

The City Manager is suggesting that the Council either refer the change to committee for further study, or vote to adopt the change at the next City Council meeting.

3. At the request of the City Council, Commissioner of Inspectional Services John Kelley issued an inspection of the City of Worcester sign ordinance from Federal Square on Main St. all the way to Webster Square.

The inspection was done on foot and these are the results: Fourteen violation orders were sent to owners and 19 tickets were issued. Some of the business owners were warned three times before they made the corrections. As of April 5, all but one of the business owners have complied and now the Dept. of Inspectional Services has a preliminary injunction order against that owner.

4. The City of Worcester has received excellent grades for their enforced building codes and a positive insurance classification from the Insurance Service Offices, Inc. (ISO). Of all the communities in the state that were graded, Worcester is in the top 10% for residential and the top 22% for commercial.

5. The City’s Energy & Asset Management (EAM) Division is applying for $250,000 in grant funding through the 2019 Green Community Competitive grant program. The project consists of energy efficiency activities at the Worcester Senior Center, and four public school facilities, as well as extends technical assistance training certification for two employees in the EAM office.

According to the City Manager, the projects will further help reduce energy consumption and generate an annual cost savings in alignment with the City’s Climate Action Plan.

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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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]