City Council Liveblog 7/28/09

4:22: Castellanas is asking the City Council to go on record in support of a recreated reflecting pool/canal and streetscape improvements in the Canal District, as in the next few days money could be released by state/federal authorities.

There’s a bit of a disagreement if an official letter is needed or not.

This is essentially a continuation of the ongoing Canal District improvement plan, and something Congressman McGovern has been in strong support of.

The requested fed money is around $7.5 million.

4:33: There’s actually two different conversations going on right now–one about a $750,000 study for the Canal District, and another for $12 million or so for Canal District streetscape improvements from the Transportation Bond bill and/or Federal Stimulus bill.

4:37: Clancy clears it up: The money is to advocate the project be placed on the improvement list, and that the money be allocated.

Vote passes 9-0; Smith is recused, Rushton is absent.

4:42: The process of the sale of the Park Ave Fire and Telegraph building. An “oldie but goodie,” says Lukes.

There have been three bidders; the top two are expected to be interviewed in the near future; that will be proceeded by a recommendation for a developer and subsequent public hearings.

4:48: A Pharmasphere representative talks about their new plant-based pharmaceutical facility on Southgate Street in South Worcester Industrial Park. Cool stuff involving tricking plants into growing quicker…using a rare plant hard to replicate in mass field-based grows.

4:54: A few City Council challengers are in the house tonight: Joe Cassello(District 1) and Frank Beshai(District 3) are somewhat regular watchers; Stephen Buchalter(at-large) is a newer visitor.

4:58: The councilors are salivating over a real-live businessman who chose to build in Worcester; Rosen asks him to name reasons he came to town, besides our “crack” economic development team.

5:09: The city is looking at ordinances supporting small scale solar and wind power, in addition to large scale projects, says planning director Joel Fontaine; those will come down the road.

5:15: The city is also looking at “energy aggregation,” and is talking to Worcester-based World Energy about how to best proceed; a white paper will follow in the fall.

5:25: It looks like the plan for a huge parkway alongside Quinsigamond Lake on Lake Avenue is feasible. Phil Palmieri praises the project, saying it will be beacon for all around. “The quality of life in this area will change dramatically.”

5:29: Check out the fascinating 50 page report. “This has potential for…such a positive image,” says Councilor Paul Clancy.

5:46: Clancy is asking whether or not the city can be liable or responsible for sewage backup, such as the incident detailed in a Dianne Williamson column. Councilors Rosen and Germain joint-filed a similar order.

5:58: The city is accepting a donation of $41,317 from Summer Nationals organizer Robert Moscoffian to cover 2008 and 2009. But Lukes asks about reported damage to Green Hill Park, and who is responsible for it. (That says nothing for the annual burnout damage downtown)

6:09: Rushton raises concerns about H1N1 swine flu, and how strong it may return in the fall.

6:28: The 2010 Capital Improvement Plan…which councilors didn’t get until 6pm.

Councilor Rick Rushton is frustrated on the lack of notice, especially for such a major spending item, but says (as its merely an advertisement) that he looks forward to a “fruitful” conversation on the council’s next meeting August 11.

6:33: Taking a break for dinner. Back in 45.

7:25: Still not back. The council had voted to go into executive session to discuss collective bargaining; that may be what they’re doing while they eat. Stay tuned.

8:02: 90 minutes later…we’re back. We should have gotten a better dinner. Restart by referring a budget report to Finance Committee.

8:09: Councilors are pissed the state rejected the city’s Home Rule petition. Joff Smith says the state shouldn’t penalize Worcester because other cities are on shaky ground.

8:17: Palmieri joins the chorus of upset councilors calling for the city manager to try again.

“They don’t think we’re serious enough,” Palmieri passionately ell-growls.

8:31: Petty says the city is a “victim of our own success,” and loses out on money and rulings based on the fact we do things well.

9:10: Sorry, dealing with other business in the hallway.

9:11: Rosen wants a report on the risks and dangers of the unofficial Summer National burnouts at Lincoln Street and Greenhill parkway.

9:12: Germain, Rosen, Rushton asking for a reconsideration of the restrictions on food vendors on the Worcester Common. He wants a waiver of some sort, saying he noticed there was no place to get a hot dog. As opposed to late night in the city, where there are…oh right, still no places to get a hot dog.

The City Manager is discussing a coming program called “Out to Lunch” that will feature area restaurants serving food on the Common on Fridays.

9:16: Petty wants a discussion on how the street vendor ordinance is working; Rushton wants the administration meeting with the vendors themselves, saying the ordinance as used is “clearly not working.”

9:19: Germain calls for shutting Commercial Street down after work hours and being proactive about bringing activity downtown.

9:23: Rushton says “There’s a gap in our 18-hour day.”

9:38: Rosen asks for the city to develop a written policy on holding speeches, events, etc. in common areas of City Hall.

9:39: Germain (and now Toomey…does anyone realize that noone outside the 11 people sitting in the room give a hoot about adding a name to an order vs. supporting the order) asks for a public/private partnership to create a world-class softball field at Crompton Park.

9:42: Palmieri wants to look at another street—potentially Canal District—to shut down on occasion to have entertainment, etc. Man, if only they remembered the Worcester Turtle Boy Music Awards. It’s all that, minus the street shut down, but with people walking up and down anyway.

9:50: Germain et al want DCR to do a better job fixing sidewalks in ALB-infested neighborhoods…it looks like asphalt dumped on tree stumps, he says.

10:03: Adjourned.

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1 Comment

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One response to “City Council Liveblog 7/28/09

  1. Joe Casello

    It might help the cause in mentioning the petition brought forward at the council meeting about the DCR repairing city sidewalks with no city over sight. The sub-standard work will only cost city taxpayers more after DCR is long gone.

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