July 14, 2010

Creative Economy Initiative

Jahn, I got to admit that I am a little confused on this one too.  Click here for the story.

This one line "have their origin in individual creativity skill and talent."   We started our own insurnace agency downtown 15 years ago and it took alot of creativity, skill and talent but an insurance agency is not eligible, although we put people (ourselves), clients and carriers that call  us on the street. 

In order to "creative" you need to be a "art gallery, cafe, gaming stores, music schools, performance spaces and restaurant".   What the hell is a gaming store?    I would rather see this $40,000 invested into Festivals like Paulie's NolaFest and the many others that wll bring people into these areas???  Wouldn't that make more sense??


Sprout said...

I can be creative! But this is the same area as the facade program...so I'm out too. :-(

T-Traveler said...

could a gaming store be an arcade? i miss the chance to play tetris

Jahn Dough said...

I posted my comment about paulie applying for the 5,000 prize for his NOLA fest in your most current thread above, before I read this thread. Not trying to steal you thunder.

Artistic.......MMMMMMM.........I think the supreme court has ruled many times that strip joints are form of artistic presentation. These bureaucrats should watch out what they wish for.

The problem that I see is these bureaucrats will not give an objective set of criteria BY which they will judge who wins. Therefore you know only the favored players will get the prizes. Not unlike how they sometimes award bids in Worcester

David Z. said...

A much more in-depth article on this new initiative in this week's Worcester Magazine.

Here is the link.


David Z. said...

I actually believe this is a good program although as Jahn mentioned in an earlier post, if we still allowed the pushcart vendors downtown, that alone would enliven our business district very quickly.

I was pleasantly surprised by this comment in the Worcester Magazine article, “Justin Paul Szostakowski, owner of Isador’s Fruit & Deli in Oxford, has been considering opening a Worcester location of his natural food market, which opened in September 2006.”

If this program gives him the push that he needs, it is a good thing.

This is exactly what downtown needs. Has anyone taken a walk down Portland Street recently? I love what the Mayo Group has done with the buildings on the side closest to Franklin Street. 1st floor retail and residential on the upper floors. Very well done rehab that is breathing life back into the Franklin/Portland Street area.

If the Mayo Group establishes a fitness center at the corner of Portland and Federal Street as I read in the past they want to do and this market (or something similar) locates in the same vicinity, you have the making of a vibrant city neighborhood.

David Z. said...

Another great article in this week's Worcester Magazine about the city. It's focus is the role that Tim Murray has played in bringing to fruition the Airport, CitySquare, and Airport deals.


Gabe said...

All of these places create vibrancy. I don't really see an insurance agency doing that. Maybe not more restaurants, but Worcester needs a lot more of the other types of businesses listed if it is ever going to be able to claim it has the amenities that will be able to attract and keep the young professionals it so desperately needs. Our competition has it in spades.

I applaud this.

Bill Randell said...


I hope this works, but what do you mean an insurance agency does not create vibrancy?

We have three employees that walk around downtown all week?? That's vibrancy. Not to mention vendors who call on us and clients that stop by.


Gabe said...

Bill does your insurance agency a draw for young adults to take up residence in the urban core of the city? Is it equally or more so a draw than art galleries, coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants?

Gabe said...

David, Justin is a friend from childhood. Isador's would be a tremendous edition to Worcester.

Gabe said...

To add to what I have already said, Bill I don't know if you remember what it was like to be 27 years old and single, but city minded young folks want to be around the types of businesses listed and you can travel within an hour in any direction from Worcester and find a municipality that absolutely destroys us in what it has to offer this demographic, specifically in centralized areas.

We need to compete.

Jahn Dough said...

Hey Bill, you calling yourself vibrant or what. :) Once in awhile I even vibrate downtown walking from the Lye-burry parking lot to The Hall.

David Z., TGIF and great to see we can be on the same page re: vendors pushcarts basically being pushed & legislated out of downtown.....BUT...BUT....BUT, I really do not think that $5,000 is going to make any differrence with this fellow deciding to locate a market in DT Worcester. Of course I do hope it happens

I did grab Womag 1/2 an hour ago. Saw the headlines about AIA's newest member Timothy Mc Murray. Not sure when I will read this isssue , but I sure hope the guys whose Idea it was to punch Front St through to Union Station rec'd all the credit for the idea. Benoit or Bennett??

I see we're getting a new fanchise restaurant at the new Walmart site. God I read it less than 1/2 hr ago and I cant recall the name of the place !!!!!

Paulie, I am happy for you , it looks like 2 days of great weather for you, last i heard, last night.

Bill Randell said...


Guess what a law office or insurance office does when they are located downtown. They go out to eat and buy art for their office.

My point is any type of business should qualify for these monies. You think an art studio will draw young people to live downtown?

Maybe a plpace located downtown where a young professional can work would draw people downtown. it is stupid to try and pick and choose which type of businesses should qualify. It should be open to all businesses.

In the end I would, however, see the $40,000 spend on events that would bring people into the area and supporting the surrounding businesses. $5,000 investment in things like NolaFest is great investment for the City of Worcester.


Nick said...

Insurance companies definitely boost commerce, which we might call economic vibrancy, but this effort is more culturally oriented, and insurance companies probably don't really do anything for culture and the arts. I think this distinction is worth making, and that the "cultural" side is promoted in this relatively small manner. Cultural events can do more than just bring people to buy things, they create an image of the city as interesting or eventful in a way that a non-cultural business usually does not.

btw Paulie's fest should definitely apply.

Also, more concretely, during what hours of the day do insurance companies create vibrancy? Downtown seems more or less fine to me during the day, but can look like a ghost town past about 6pm. I think this program is a good, and fairly small, stab at addressing that problem.

Gabe said...

"My point is any type of business should qualify for these monies. You think an art studio will draw young people to live downtown?"

A cluster of businesses like this will undoubtedly draw young people to live in the neighborhoods (not just Downtown) they are talking about with this initiative.

All this talk and some people still don't understand city living. I can illustrate my point quite simply.

I have lived at 50 Franklin for close to 3 years now. I moved here because of the potential of the neighborhood. Not much has happened since I moved here and I will probably be leaving in October. If a real good deli, bar, restaurant or coffee shop were to move in I would contemplate staying, if an insurance agency opened it wouldn't change my stance one bit.

Bill Randell said...


A real good restaurant opened across the street from you and closed in four months.

There was a art studio Norwich Street that closed.


Bill Randell said...


We need businesses downtown period. Any and all types of businesses need to be supported.


Gabe said...

The restaurant did not cater to the demographic we are talking about here. And what the hell is a studio? Are we talking about the same thing here? Studios are where art is created. GALLERIES are where art is displayed and sold. I believe Norwich St was Worcester Frame and Art which was a commercial gallery, on Norwich, all by itself, nowhere near any like minded businesses. No synergy whatsoever.

What isn't being understood here?

Nick is dead on. This is a cultural initiative to make the city more appealing to the exact demographic Worcester desperately needs to retain.

Jahn Dough said...

Gabe, IMO the city of Worc does not have the threshold amount of cultural demographic necessary to sustain teh arts, be it theatre, paintings, museums, certain kinds of music, and the like.

Part of the reason Our cultural instituions survive is b/c they draw the needed demographic from other areas outside of Worcester.
This one of my big beefs w/ The Hand It Over Theatre, i.e. the city fronted millions to a non profit theatre and in IMO the preponderance of the beenficiaries of the citys largese do not live in Worcester.

The question is now arising, where is the spin off from the The Hand It Over Theatre? It looks like it's being answered with a request for more financial backing from the city to accomplish the spin off.

Sorry folks $5,000 probably aint even going to pay for the signage for a new artisitic business in Worcester and that assumes the city will even let you erect a sign?

I reiterate, the city drove the vendors pushcarts outta Downtown, now they expect to create foot traffic and jobs with a $5,000 prize to artisitic businessses. This is a prima facia case of how littel the city bureaucrats understand about what it takes and how much it takes to even open the doors of a new business, let alone keep it up and running every day.

Rather than repeat the mistake the city made with The Hand It Over Theatre and other business with upfront monies, I strongly suggest no money is handed out until 1 year after the winners have successfully attained the desired objectives. Do folks engage a businessperson for services and pay them upfront or do you pay as work progresses and when the task is complete? The city needs to operate in a more businesslike fashion.