Sunday, March 22, 2009


Can anyone give me the name of an economically successful and vibrant city that does not have a dense population of middle to upper class folks living in it's urban core?

(before anyone jumps all over me for being a racist or bigot or class warfare artist or all the other outstanding names I have been called over the last few days note that I didn't say exclusively middle to upper class)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dear Councilors

Sent this out today. I urge anyone reading this to do the same.

Mayor, Councilors, and City Manager,

I was alarmed to see the story printed in the Telegram today about the low income housing development planned for Water St in the Canal District. If you care about the city and care about the progress that has been made in one of the truly up and coming neighborhoods in Worcester you must understand that this is a terrible idea and one that could erase everything that has gone on in that neighborhood over the past 5 years. While great strides have been made in the Canal District there is still much to do to get things where they should be and part of that is getting the neighborhood densely populated by a demographic that will frequent the great new restaurants, bars, shops, and galleries that are opening on what seems like a monthly basis there.

Low income housing may very well add more crime, and overall will hinder attempts to make the neighborhood clean and aesthetically pleasing as it must be to be attractive to the young urban minded folks it needs to attract to move forward.

I hope that you take this seriously and understand that along with City Square, the future urban quality of life in Worcester also hinges on the success or failure of neighborhoods like The Canal District, Federal Sq, North Main and Shrewsbury St. We should be working diligently to make these neighborhoods our urban crown jewels.

I understand the development is already approved but I would hope you take the opportunity to oversee the process and make sure that it fits with the character of the Canal District as has already been defined and not let the building become an eventual cultural eyesore that may in fact hinder the rejuvenation of what could potentially not only become one of our greatest urban neighborhoods, but a destination for many in Central Massachusetts and beyond.

Thank you for reading and I hope you understand the possible implications of this development.

In case you haven't read it this is what I am all fired up about:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dripping With Disdain

So this is almost a month old but I was surfing around the Womag website and came upon this interview with Rajesh Patel, manager of the Newsroom on Front St. Dude seems to really dislike his business.

What strikes me though is two questions at the bottom of the page. One is a follow up of a question where Womag asks if he has had any ideas to turn the store into something else.

Part of his reply is this: "Some people are telling me to turn it into a grocery store, but I can’t do that because people downtown who come by bus won’t bring their groceries from here to home on the bus."

What the hell Rajesh? There are about 600 people living right across the common from you. Do you even know that?

Then the interviewer asks what he likes about doing business on Front St Patel responds: "The foot traffic and the bus stop keeps us going. If there was no bus stop, we would have been closed a long time ago."

The densely populated urban areas of Worcester are coming, maybe not right away but the writing is on the wall and they will be here. Federal Sq, in and of itself will be a very densely populated place most likely by the 2010 census with 11 buildings of dense housing all within a seven block radius that will be mostly filled by then.

The businesses that are going to come out ahead of the curve in that neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhoods are going to be the ones that figure out how to take advantage of the needs of the folks who live in these buildings. It's obvious by this article that even if you know there are people living in these buildings you are already at an advantage over some of your competition because some of them don't even know that. I wonder how many people on Front and Franklin are even factoring in the skating rink into their winter 09/10 plans of attack.

Also, I remember hearing rumors about a year ago that the Newsroom was looking to change formats into a liquor store which was denied by the city. At the time I was glad because my thinking was all they were trying to do was capitalize on the void left by Bancroft Liquors on the 40oz and nip market. Sorry to see I was correct in that assumption.

Place always left a bad taste in my mouth and even though it is right across the common from me as a citizen of the neighborhood I don't find much reason to go in there. I would like to hope that in the future this might change, but after reading this interview it's hard to keep the faith.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I'm No Economist....

And really I'm not and don't claim to be. Someone could probably find several holes with what I am about to say here but I wanted to say it.

The economy has been bad for a long time, not just recently and I think it started to fall in the 80's and has been in a steady decline since then.

Remember this, the majority of families have only had both parents working for about 30 years or less. Also remember that families used to be much much larger.

So your average family of three or four with both parents working can barely afford to buy a house and feed and clothe the kids in 2009 when in 1963 your average family of 6 could afford a house in the suburbs on one income? Does anyone else not see this?

I don't want to hear jack about a good economy until we are back to one income being able to finance the American dream in this country. Anything else and we are being lied to, and we were lied to, for a very long time.