Worcester City Council Preview: Vacant Storefronts on Main St & More

by | May 28, 2019 | Headlines, News, Politics

1. Five Years of Fire Department Improvements

WFD Chief Michael Lavoie provided the following list of building and infrastructure improvements in the past five years. According to Chief Lavoie, these improvements have cost the department more than $800k since FY2014. Approximately 15% of the department’s operating budget is used for building maintenance and repairs. 

Tatnuck Fire Station

New concrete front apron
Kitchen rehabilitation
New front concrete stairs
New boiler

Franklin Street Station

Major HVAC work

Greendale Fire Station

New roof
Repaired catch basin
2nd floor painting

McKeon Road Fire Station

New pavement
Replaced carpeting and tiling
Rear deck repaired

Park Avenue Fire Station

Rear parking area re-paved
New roof
Kitchen remodel
Painted apparatus bay

Grafton Street Fire Station

Roof repair
HVAC work
Window replacement

Webster Square Fire Station

Major HVAC work

Grove Street Fire Station

Bathroom rehabilitation
Repaired drainage infrastructure


2. Worcester Cultural Compact First Year Update

The “Cultural Compact” between the City of Worcester, the Worcester Arts Council, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the Salisbury Cultural District, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council has reached the conclusion of its first year. 

The Cultural Compact was designed by the Massachusetts Cultural Council to bolster a shared vision for cities and towns to recognize the power of culture and make communities better places for people to live, learn, work and thrive.

Worcester was one of six communities selected to pilot the Cultural Compact initiative across the state.

Over the past year the Compact partners have completed the following: 

  • Initiated and developed the Worcester Cultural Plan: a guide to creative city making to be embedded in the city of Worcester’s Master Plan
  • Assisted the Massachusetts Cultural Council with the inaugural statewide Cultural Institute convening at the DCU Center
  • Convened the cultural community to address arts and cultural initiatives for youth
  • Distributed 46 grants, a total of $127,318 via the Worcester Arts Council.

3. From the016.com: Door closed on City re-opening downtown shortcut

“For years it has been common to see a driver facing the prospect of a particularly nightmarish trip through Washington Square to try to beat the system by taking a shortcut through the part of Foster Street that connects with Summer Street. Equally common are the backup lights, and possible swearing, when drivers find the road dead-ends before the anticipated destination.

That part of Foster Street was curbed over when the road was reconfigured to connect with Francis J. McGrath Blvd.”

Read the rest here from the016.com.


4. Memorial Auditorium Sale and Redevelopment

An agreement has been reached with the Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) for the sale and redevelopment of the Worcester Memorial Auditorium.

AHF will purchase the Auditorium for $450k and projects the Redevelopment Plan will total $94 million. 

The plan for the “Aud”calls for the rehabilitation and restoration of the Auditorium into an innovative digital technology, arts and education center, providing a forum for state-of-the-art commercial entertainment and an incubator for business entrepreneurs involved in the 21st century digital media industry.


5. Three streets to Make Up Vacant Storefront District

The City will apply to make parts of Main St., Chandler St. and Pleasant St. [see map below] part of a new pilot program — the Massachusetts Vacant Storefront Program (MVSP) — from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) and the state’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC). 

The program requires the district to have a defined commercial area that is negatively affected by storefronts and has the potential to catalyze pedestrian activity.

According the City Manager, “The proposed district also builds from previous economic development planning efforts, leverages recent infrastructure improvements to streets and sidewalks, and balances the needs of the downtown with the needs of critical neighborhood commercial corridors leading into the downtown.”


Worcester City Council Preview: Vacant Storefronts on Main St & More 1

Vacant Store Front Location Map


The City Council meeting is held on Tuesday, May 28 at 6:30 PM in the Esther Howland Chamber at City Hall in Worcester. View agenda here.

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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]