Posted by Jeremy Shulkin and Brittany Durgin
Sadly, I will miss a second week of city council tonight, but Brittany Durgin will aptly reclaim her seat in the corner of the chamber and live blog the entire meeting in my place.
*Unless the internet connection there is awful, like it’s been for the last month or so.
7:08: Rushton starts off by asking that the Council adopts the project at 180 Main Street. “Yes” unanimous throughout roll call.
7:13: A representative from Toys For Tots stands in the audience to speak about this years campaign and asks for continued donations.
7:21: The Commissioner stands to recognize Bob Hoyt, manager of the water filtration plant here in Worcester. He notes Bob’s professionalism and recognizes the “George Warren Fuller” Award given to him by the American Water Works Association.
7:25: Members of the Trustees of the Memorial Auditorium stand to say they “believe in the Memorial Auditorium” and hopes it returns to being an active role in the city.
7:27: Mr.McGurthy notes marketing and promotion for bids on the Auditorium will be expansive including New England newspapers and taking Lukes’ suggestion, will reach out to the city of Providence about direct mailing that they used when working on a similar project.
7:32: Toomey says the remarkable architecture certainly is a community concern. She says she received a phone call asking about preservation, including the organ in the building. She hopes the community will be included in future renovation and preservation decisions.
7:34: The building itself is not deemed historic, but the property itself is. Mr. McGourthy says his understanding that certain parts of the building is allowed to be taken down or modified. There are over 200,000 square feet that could be modified. The portion that is looked at to be preserved is the front part of the building seen from Grove Street.
7:37: The North Main economic project was build upon three themes. Making the area: an urban village, an institutional culture center, and the third being as an business incubator.
7:48: Haller asks to see results on a survey taken by the Worcester community on how they view the cleanliness of our city.
7:50: New parking meters downtown will be solar powered and will “speak directly with City Hall”. Toomey says she thinks this will bring in more revenue than ever before as the older ones often broke down. These same meters will also be put in the Canal District.
7:57: Commissioner hopes that if and when the city converts fully the new meter, there will only be a 1% failing rate through the city of all meters. He says the new meters will send the city a text message if and when they fail. Ruston responds with “cool.”
8:01: Chief Gemme stands to speak on the Shannon Community Safety Initiative Grant. He says this program and all the grants involve put the city in a good place to deal with recent gang gun violence.
8:08: Gemme responds to Eddy’s question of how new technology being implemented in WPD is being paid for saying that most of the money came from grants. New technology includes laptops in the cruisers that will scan more license plate faster, a more unified database that will be shared throughout all departments within WPD, and street intelligence showing hot spots electronically.
8:17: Tracy Novick stands in the audience with concerns of idling trucks and an influx in dust and dirt in the air at the 1099 Pleasant Street property close to Tatnuck Elementary School.
8:22: Lukes says she thinks this issue will be one we will see again, but for now, she asks the City Manager to find out when the “temporary” project will be done by National Grid.
8:27: City Manager says the city will continue geese patrol in Elm Park. Haller is pleased with the commitment by the city, and hopes the Council will be notified if a change in the patrolling takes place.
8:31: Lukes says a more practical solution to signage is to say when signs must come down after an event has happened rather than to say how many signs can be posted. She says it’s a tradition to pepper the city with signs, and that shouldn’t be changed.
8:40: There is a suggestion to look at using any extra space the RTA may have in their new garage, for storing and as a location during maintenance of other city vehicles. Lukes asks for a detailed report of how much space would be available and more details on which departments would potentially use the space.
8:46: Toomey requests creation of new bike lanes. Chandler Street businesses are encouraging the use of bicycles and Toomey said she would appreciate a report that states which roads are workable for future bike lanes.
8:51: Signs are a hot topic tonight. Lukes says digital billboards are a public safety matter is it could be a dangerous distraction to drivers and also an aesthetic issue. She would hate to see a large digital billboard blocking Union Station as drivers pass by on 290.
9:07: There is a grave concern of how long the RTA can service the community and Haller expresses concern for those who depend highly on its services. The City Manager says public transportation is critical and essential, however working with the RTA to build toward the future needs to be happening. Lukes doesn’t like that answer. Petty jumps in, then the Mayor. Mayor O’Brien says at the moment we’re straying too far from the initial request from Haller for an update on the issue.
9:12: The Mayor suggests that Lukes files for a further discuss. Lukes says she plans to pursue this issue and the Mayor says she’s more than welcome to.
9:22: There is concern expressed by Haller and Palmieri that we’re regressing with off campus student housing near Holy Cross and the disturbance those residents are making with neighbors. They both hope to get back on track and Palmieri asks the City Manager to put his own plan in place to help the issue.