City Council Liveblog 5/19/09

7:10: Colin Novick of the Greater Worcester Land Trust and Green Hill Park Coalition talking about the Green Hill Park….there’s a plan on the agenda to apply for a grant to build an “Innovation Center” near the Worcester Technical High School, and Novick expresses his concern that it not be built on park property, that it only be built on the existing Worcester Public School land.

Ted Coughlin, who is behind the Innovation Center, says “I don’t know what caused that last discussion. This is a concept that has been discussed…for the last year.

“We’ve had substantial [discussion] over the past year.”

He says the Innovation Center, if built if planned, would require an easement.

“I’ve had zero contact with anybody until today when I was blindsided with emails…that people are concerned….”

Coughlin says he just wants approval to move forward, and that all plans will be shared down the road….that “all parties’ issues are discussed and review.”

“I’m here to ask you to approve the concept…not plans.”

7:15: Clancy says he wants to make sure the Innovation Center wouldn’t go outside the footprint of the Technical High School, as that’s “what was promised.”

7:21: Coughlin says the center itself can be on the school property, but the greenhouses can’t be.

“It’s no cost to the city…If the attitude is tie my hands before we start…”

“If people can’t sit down and discuss intelligently.”

Coughlin is clearly upset at being questioned over this.

Toomey asks if the plans are in stone; Coughlin says there are no plans, it’s merely a proposal.

7:26: This is the proposal causing all the drama.

Final motions: Asking for a legal opinion; also, the City Manager will get the park advocates and skyline group together.

7:35: Palmieri goes back to the Worcester Technical High School issue (Coughlin has left), calling it “absolutely ridiculous” that it was brought up on the council floor before it was brought before the Green Hill Coalition or anyone else. “I’m ultimately opposed. On school property is one thing, on parkland…absolutely not.”

7:37: Proposed closure of lots around Union Station, which has upset everyone from morning commuters, to nighttime-centric businesses. Joff Smith says there are a lot more issues, including if meters are working and are being checked.

“There’s a lot more information we need to get on this,” he says, questioning how small businesses will be hurt.

He’s planning a public hearing in the near future.

Moylan says that businesses that have leases on surface lots in the area, or use them for valet parking will be accommodated in Lot C, in front of Kenmore Diner.

Short term, the lots will remain closed with minimal maintenance with no plans on any use.

Are meters being enforced? asks Smith.

Only C has meters, says Moylan, others use honor boxes, which will be taken out of service. “Have they been honorable?” asks Smith.

Smith: “Is there any reason we can’t leave them open at night?”

Moylan says no business has expressed concern at only having Lot C, which holds 70 vehicles. He says that should be plenty. “Keeping Lot C open should accommodate businesses” as well as commuters he says.

“We clearly have enough space [in the garage] for the displaced commuters.”

He says there are only 30 parkers in the garage he would consider “occasional parkers,” which would leave plenty of space in the remaining surface lots.

7:48: Clancy, like Smith, says he’s most concerned about the casual commuter. Moylan says he’ll analyze and come up with a new plan for the casual commuter.

7:54: Moylan says the closures arose when his department saw that lots weren’t being fully utilized, something that runs counter to what many daily commuters say anecdotally. However, if based on revenue collected from the not-always-checked honor boxes, Moylan’s probably right.

7:57: Clancy and Palmieri says the planned $8 a day in the garage is too much.

Palmieri: Have you talked to businesses?

Moylan says one owner who uses D&E didn’t anticipate a problem with the plan. But Moylan says if problems come up, he’ll gladly revisit the issue.

8:00: Moylan says that after the small Amtrak lot, the MBTA lot only fills to 60%, at most, on most days.

8:16: Moylan says “we’re going to be close” to the wire in getting the ice storm debris cleaned up before the deadline set by when AL Beetles will start emerging again.

8:26: Haller wants to control “un-mufflered or souped-up motorcycles in the city.”

8:28: Rosen wants to know the city policy for disposal of dead animals on roads, after a resident reported seeing a city truck throw a raccoon carcass onto conservation land.

8:31: It’s all Animal Planet in here! Eddy asking for the city to help neighbors to now have streams running through their backyards due to beavers diverting streams near Patch’s Reservoir. He wants the city asking the state to help with trapping the beavers and rerouting the streams.

8:34: Rushton and Smith want it to be mandatory for batters and baserunners in all adult softball leagues to wear helmets.

8:38: Eddy opposes, saying it seems too “Big Brother,” and that each league should set its own rules.

8:50: A motion to find out how much reopening and bringing up safety on certain pools would cost, so citizens could run a fundraising campaign.

8:52: Clancy says it’s too late for this summer to fix many of the pools, even if it was wanted.

“We have to determine how many pools we can afford, and where they should be.”

“I think the timing is way off.”

8:56: Palmieri: “There is not a pool that is safe…”

“I don’t want to be a person that is going to vote for risks.”

“I applaud the effort…it is an important effort.”

“We need to make a real decision here on pools.”

9:10: Still on pools…Rushton, Rosen, etc. want to try to open some…Clancy, Palmieri want to look to future.

9:12: Shrewsbury resident Tim Pitney(sp?) on the importance of Worcester pools to his family.

(He says his daughter used to walk to Rosen’s hot dog stand; Rosen quips “she was the only one.”)

He wants to put a fundraising coalition together to open as many pools as possible, if it’s feasible.

9:27: Toomey wants to send a “strong letter” to the legislative delegation decrying the local aid cuts and supporting the Municipal Partnership Act; Councilor Palmieri says that he thinks it makes more sense to continue talking with the legislative group on a private and positive level.

Toomey says she isn’t trying to be adversarial and, frustrated, withdraws her motion.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “City Council Liveblog 5/19/09

  1. SS

    Why are Worcesterites such paytoparkaphobes?

  2. Gotta say, dem Wusta bureaucrats sure do know how to strangle the life out this place. And the CC’s spend 2 hours discussing parking meters. F’ing great! Brillant! Real leadership. That’s what we pay em for right?
    Ever wonder why this place sucks?

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