October 31, 2009

Direct Air adds Fort Myers

The new Niagara Falls International Airport terminal has finally landed its first carrier for an inaugural flight to take off in mid-December.
Direct Air will fly from the falls to Ft. Myers, Florida .

October 29, 2009

Block 5

Drove by today
Now the Jewel Box--Asian


By the way thanks Dave for sending me that story in the last post. Just a reminder you have only two months left on our bet.

Sale of ORH

How many times did I say we should put the entire airport out to bid??

How many times did Councilor Rosen ask the same question??

Well here you go, Great piece with the Worcester Business Journal. The key line being

The city should not expect to make any money on the sale of Worcester Airport to Massport. In fact, the city may find itself putting any proceeds from the sale of the airport right back into the airport's operating budget, according to Ed Freni, Massport's director of aviation.

Freni spoke this morning during a panel discussion entitled Getting from Here to There: The Central Mass Transportation Network put on by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau. The city currently owns the airport and pays about 20 percent of its operating deficit with Massport paying the rest.

Freni said if Massport were to buy the facility, any profits gained by the city in the sale "would be placed back into the airport. Any funds paid to Worcester in the sale would be applied to the operations of the airport." He said the city and Massport could arrange a profit sharing partnership subsequent to the sale.

What push back do we have?? None!! We never tried to find another buyer to compete against MassPort so now we are really at their mercy.

October 28, 2009

Chamber of Commerce

Where is the Chamber of Commerce???? When was the last time anyone has heard anything from them?? Seriously anyone, who reads this blog, are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce???

In Boston do you have any idea how strong the Chamber of Commerce is? Or for that matter any of the Chambers that surround the City of Worcester, It is, however, tax classification time so we should be getting the annual letter to the Telegram, appearances on the local radio shows and a cameo at the City Council until the same time next year.

Our current Chamber focuses on entertainment:
  • business after hours
  • recruitment of sport teams
  • tv shows

Where were they on:

  • the FOG ordinance, grease trap issue
  • bedroom hook-up fees for builders
  • parking over lay districts
  • facade program outside the NRSA districts

I don't know if any tax monies go towards the Chamber, although I bet we do, but we should consider to stop funding them.

Paulie's blog word for word

The Philadelphia Plan is really a very simple plan to initiate in WooTown and it will require some very simple things from it's citizens;
  1. have some pride....evah hear someone from Philly say they can't be Pittsburgh?
  2. support yer baseball team....even during lean times!elect officials who actually come up with idea's like the "real" Philadelphia Plan......leave the vendor and personal property leash law ideas to town officials from Weston, MA
  3. support yer hockey team.....even during lean times!
  4. start giving incentives to the productive.......it's okay to be good to those who create and contribute!
  5. begin to work together instead of fighting like the little fiefdoms of past.....Philly & Pittsburgh didn't re-create themselves by squabbling about pools for 22 months:>)

Undoing the dual property tax system

Think people all agree that we made a mistake in 1984 when we switched to the dual tax system. Instead of commercial and residential tax-payers working together to come up with an equitable rate, we pit one side against the other.

Are we the only municipality in the country to have a dual tax rate? No!!

Here is a better question. Has there EVER been a municipality that had a sual tax rate that switched back to a single rate?


Answer to Jahn comment


Here goes. First you doadmit that the commercial base is leaving the city or worcester and costing residents on their annual taxes, right? Assuming you agree with that, my question is how do we reverse this trend? In other words, what is your plan?

Second, for some of your points. The final version of the Philly Plan are not done--obviously. The Citizens for business have targeted what are referred to as the Commercial Area Revitalization Districts in the City of Worcester:
  • Canal District
  • Downtown
  • Lower Lincoln Street Corridor
  • Main South
  • Pleasant/Chandler Streets Corridor
  • Shrewsbury/Arctic/Grafton Streets Corridor
  • Southbridge Street/South Worcester Industrial Park (SWIP)

Our initial plans were to merely target new commercial projects or expansions on existing commercial projects, not residential projects. Now for some of your questions (I changed some of your words around):

1) So if I own an existing commercial property that is not in one of these districts, I basically end up subsidizing these new projects more then ordinary because I now pick up some of the taxes that the new construction are not paying?

Jahn. look no further then Demers Goodyear and Manoog Plumbing. These were two properties in a CARD district, let me ask you how much do they now pay in property taxes? Answer--nothing!!! Both were bought by churches. Maybe if we had a Philadelphia type plan, a commercial entity would have bought these properties and kept the properties on the tax rolls.

Do not understand how attracting commercial development in targeting areas that have none can possibly increase the taxes of other commercial, or for that matter residential property owners.

2) Do we know if there is a nexus between reduced taxes and new construction?

We don't. Once we pass this type of plan, we will track results to see if in fact there is.

Jahn, the Phliadelphia Plan that the Citizens for Business is merely attempting to attract commercial development in targeting areas to help increase our tax base that will help all the current tax-payers, both commercial and residential. Again , I leave you with, if you do not like this plan, what is your plan?

October 27, 2009

Council Tonight

Request City Manager review the Philadelphia Plan and soon provide a recommendation to the City Council on what legal and legislative steps must be taken to implement it in the City of Worcester. The highly successful Philadelphia Plan allows residents and business owners the opportunity to apply for an abatement that freezes for a decade real estate taxes on new industrial and commercial construction, as well as on renovations to deteriorated properties. (Rosen, Clancy)

D4 highlight

A questionnaire from the audience posed a question to Miss Kelly, as in Grace Kelly....

October 26, 2009

Debate Tonight

The Chandler Street Business Association will be sponsoring it's final debate on October 26, 2009 - 7:00 P.M. at the Chandler Community School between District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller and her challenger Grace Ross...the debate will be moderated by Gary Rosen & Brendan Melican.This Debate is open to the public and all who have a stake in District 4 are encouraged to attend.

October 24, 2009

Chernisky nails it

Worcester has too much rental housing. Worcester’s housing stock consists of 40 percent homeowners and 60 percent rentals. This isn’t good. Worcester should have 60 percent homeowners and 40 percent rentals.

Every problem Worcester has can be traced to its oversupply of rental housing. Problems like blight, crime, noise pollution, high taxes, no pools, no sidewalk repair and no tax base are the result of poor housing policy. For example, if Worcester increased its homeownership rate to 60 percent, the crime rate would plummet.

Voters must understand that housing policy controls everything about a community, and too much rental housing is a killer. In fact, it was rental housing that brought down the city of Springfield. The City Council needs to take action.

  • First, initiate a moratorium on the production of rental housing, the only exceptions being senior housing and mixed-use developments.
  • Second, push for the condominiumization of Worcester’s three-deckers. Worcester has about 4,000 three-deckers, and we need to condominiumize 2,000 of them, adding 6,000 new homeowners, strengthening and upgrading the inner-city neighborhoods.
  • Third, all three-deckers west of Park Avenue must be condominiumized to protect the integrity of the West Side as an upper-income area. City government should offer big financial incentives to condo converters to get the job done.

Remember, Worcester has many good rental people, but a lot of bad ones too, and the noise pollution alone from these bad guys can destroy a neighborhood. That’s why our goal should be 60 percent homeowners. RICHARD L. CHERNISKY

October 22, 2009

78 Pleasant Street

The sign is back!!!

We rent is out for the day at $25 a pop. Bday wished, political endorsements, etc let me know.


Still has not changed hands. Remember they bid $1 for the parcel last January and were to suppose to break ground last Spring. Maybe we should not worry about a parcel like this before we question Wyman Gordon and what they do with their property?

October 20, 2009



I believe Virginia Buckingham, ex Executive Director and CEO, still works for IMG. We are using them as our consultant in negotiations for the sale of ORH?

How about hiring a company like airport Jack Randal Poteet and Associates that specialize in airport valuations?

Kudos to Rosen

Great question on the sale of the airport.

The airport is transferred whether there is an agreement in place on June 30th of 2010. On our side handling the negotiations City Mgr, the Assistant City Mgr, Tom Z and David Moore with help from IMG. Come again??

The same guys who charged us 100,000 of thousands of dollars for a report and successfully recruited one airline are advising us at to how to structure the deal with MassPort??? In fact these guys even advised us in their recommendation not to put the airport out to bid and sell to MassPort..

Let me ask you this, lets assume IMG beats the hell out of MassPort during their negotiations, do you think MassPort would want to hire them? Wasn't an old head of MassPort work at IMG???

I am glad that the City of Worcester is out of the airport business. MassPort will be a huge improvement but I don't like the way this is being done and question whether or not the tax-payers will get the highest return for this asset.


Allegiant Travel Co. (ALGT: News ), parent company of Allegiant Air and Allegiant Vacations, reported that third quarter net income surged to $13.8 million or $0.68 per share, from $4.9 million or $0.24 per share in the year-ago quarter.Total operating revenue for the quarter rose 13.9% to $133.1 million from $116.9 million in the same quarter a year earlier.On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated the company to report $0.63 per share for the quarter on $130.45 million revenue.

JetBlue Boston

NEW YORK — JetBlue Airways Corp. said Monday it was expanding its service at Boston's Logan International Airport.

The New York-based carrier said in a statement that five daily nonstop flights from Boston to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport will begin on March 1, 2010.
The airline, on Sept. 9, launched new service to Baltimore with four daily flights to complement its existing six daily flights between Boston and Washington Dulles International Airport.

October 19, 2009

Quinn Bill

Confused by some of the comments (Jahn).

My point is if you (the city of Worcester) says you will pay what is provided under the Quinn bill in a contract, you need to pay it. Plain and simple?? I am not saying it is right or wrong, but I am saying is that a signed contract trumps.

It so happens that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who paid a portion of the Quin bill, changes their mind and stops, the City of Worcester is on the hook unless the signed contract has provisions for this condition. Since they do not (as far as I understand), they need to honor the contract.

Again, I am not picking sides. Two parties who sign a contract, each side needs to honor it. If during the terms of the contract, either party is not happy with a provision then they deal with it at the next contract. You can not contest during the term of the signed contract.

Can someone tell me who represented the City of Worcester during the last contract, who failed to address this possibility, while other cities and towns did?

Board Openings

Click here

3 for the airport

Police Contract

It always bugs me when an athlete has a good year and tries to hold out for more money. Honor your contract!!

That is how I feel about the WPD. In the last contract negotiations, the City of Worcester made no stipulation as to what would happen if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stopped funding their portion of the Quin bill. The City of Worcester needs to honor their contract.

On the other hand, there were other cities and towns in their contract negotiations clearly stipulated that they would not pick up the Commonwealth side of the Quinn bill if the Commonwealth stopped funding it. In those cities and towns, there is no fight since that possibility was covered in their contract.

Obviously this needs to be brought up in the next contract, but as far as not honoring the current contract? How can we not? Better yet, I hope that whoever we used in the last contract negotiations, who made this mistake, is not being used in there negotiations.

October 18, 2009

Today's Telegram

Good story from Nemeth, Nick K and Diane K. As a Saint John's gard another great story on Charlie Bibaud. Got to say one of the better Sunday Telegrams in some time.

Tim is right, City of Worcester entire website has a nice new look.

October 17, 2009

Ride Down 290

Noticed two things

  1. Big billboard for Green Airport
  2. Siemans Sign going up on Morgan Construction

Kind of speaks volumes about Worcester's commercial base?

October 16, 2009

Webster House

Changed hands October 1st

October 15, 2009

South Worcester Business Council

South Worcester Business Council starting to pick up some momentum, trying to duplicate the success of the Chandler Business Group and the Chandler NRSA. To date we have two meetings and already have three facades (two business-owners) starting the facade process.

Tomorrow we are meeting with Ron Charette of the South Worcester to:

  1. Review the monies spent from inception thru today in the South Worcester NRSA
  2. Work on future budgets

Will update here results.

Southgate Place Gets 3.8 Million

Excellent more money for another low to mod income housing project!!

click here

The state will put $50.3 million in federal stimulus money into 10 stalled housing development projects, including four in Central Massachusetts.

Gov. Deval Patrick's office said the money is intended to make up for the lack of equity in the low income housing tax credit market. The U.S. Treasury is providing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and allowing states to convert tax credits into grants.
In Central Massachusetts, the Southgate Place project, which is part of the planned revitalization of the South Worcester Industrial Park, will receive $3.8 million.

Although the neighbors do not want the project, Worcester has way too much low to mod income housing, thee is no market for low income housing tax credits-- Southgate Place is getting 3.8 million dollars..

Council Pursues Public Sale of Surplus Property

Story in Telegram, click here. Could not agree more. In the past (2002 and 2003) the City of Worcester, when real estate was at a premium sold the following properties to the Main South CDC:

  1. 1 Hollis St (Bk 27314 pg 329)
  2. 196 Beacon St (BBk 30709 pg 148)
  3. 194 Beacon St (Bk 30709 pg 142)
  4. 190 Beacon St (Bk 30709 pg 137)
  5. 25 Hollis St (BK 30709 pg 131)
  6. 11 Gardner St (Bk 30709 pg 125)
  7. 19 Kilby St (Bk 30709 pg 118)

Total Sale price $6,410. Now that was not the average sale price but the grand total sale price for 7 buildable parcels.

October 14, 2009

Dewey Bet

If the deal is not signed by UNUM by the end of the year, you owe me that drink

Local Sales Tax

FYI… only 34 of 351 cities and towns in Mass. took advantage of the local option meals tax. The only other central Mass. community to do this besides Worcester is Auburn. This basically brings the total tax paid on a meal out to 7% in Worcester versus 6.25% elsewhere in Mass.

October 13, 2009

One Bum

I remember when right behind Faneuil Hall there was the Route 93 overpass and the Long Wharf Marriott seemed a hundred miles away. The Big Dig took that down and put the road underground opening up the whole area and realling bringing Faneuil Hall together with the North End.. It is incredible what they have done down there.

As I mentioned before I was amazed as to how many families there living. It really is nice and must be a great lifestyle.
I did, however, see one bum passed out. Don't worry I gave him a few bucks and told him that Pajama People are welcomed with open arms and that the housing opportunities were much better for a person with no income in Worcester. Also told him not to settle for anything but new construction and warned him not to take any basement apartments.

School Committee Debates

Kudos to Paulie:

  1. Summer work crew
  2. Nola Fest
  3. Candidate night
  4. now the debates

Also a big thank you to Brendan and Gary. I was there for about 45 minutes. Very well attended, mostly parishioners of the Buddhist Temple as well as some area business-owners. Check out Paul's blog for more details.

Got to be honest, I was actually impressed by all the School Committee Members and the 3 new people running.

October 12, 2009

Chandler Business Group

Paulie lives and works right on Chandler Street. We need more people like Paul in the area. Over the past several months, he has had many problems with neighbors as documented on his blog.

The other night after more trash was thrown in the planters that we put on the street, why buy city bags and Paul told them about it. Check this out. Makes you want to move there huh? The City Manager's office is well aware of these problems and lets hope they do something to assist good people like Paul and we somehow make our urban core a place people want to live, work and bring up a family.

Not a place to move from?

Harbor Towers garage project

click here

Harbor Towers Garage

There is a $900 million project underway to turn this garage into a 900 million three huge towers. Walked by and checked out some of the literature. In total there will be 18 "affordable" units. In Worcester we would have had 18 "market" units.

I know comparing Boston to Worcester is unfair, but the private monies that are bing invested in the core of Boston is unreal. Meanwhile in Worcester there are only public subsidized projects in the urban core. Right now I can count two projects in the CARD districts:
  1. Piedmont Street
  2. Kilby Street

Projects on deck:

  1. City Builders--South Worcester
  2. Chevalier--Winn
  3. Old Trade School-- Winn
  4. Mason Street-Common Ground and partner
  5. 93 Grand Street-Main South CDC

We need to waive permitting fees and freeze assessed values for privately funded market housing.

October 11, 2009

Friend of Christopher Columbus Park

Correct website

People make the city

Spending the week-end at the Long Wharf Marriott--Paul keeps telling me I need to get out of the City of Worcester. Ironically he happens to be in Charlestown.

Everyone knows about Faneuil Hall, but over the past couple of days I have found out how much the Back Bay/North End has changed. You can not believe the number of young families, walking their dogs spending their day hanging out at Christopher Columbus Park. Actually I am sitting here on the free wifi watching Vangella on the playground, waiting for the concert and parade (Joe's Grille in background).

You can build a pocket park, build a skating rink on the common, build a brand new pool on Crompton Park, pass street vendor ordinance but nothing will change in Worcester for the better until we get quality people (with income) that want to live in Worcester. The answer is not in low to mod income housing.

Councilor Rosen the playground and sidewalks in the park seem to be the rubber that I have heard you mention many times.

October 10, 2009

78 Pleasant Street

Years ago the City of Worcester placed a huge block in the sidewalk as a basement for a sign to direct people to the airport. ign never came, although the base concrete sat there for years. This week it was taken away.

October 09, 2009

Paul Link

Must read

October 08, 2009

9 May Street Variance

Just read it Book 40544 Page 48. Although there are 46 one, two and three bedroom units that would require at least 100 parking spots (not sure of the break-out), a variance was granted with only 32 parking spaces -- .695 cars per unit (which I do not even think they have). What was the reason given?

Additional units of affordable housing are needed in the area and the City of Worcester. The neighborhood will benefit from the development of this parcel because the property is often used for illegal activities, and therefore has become a source of insecurity for abutting neighbors and area in general. There is adequate on-street parking for which there is little demand from abutting parcels.

Say what?

1) Additional affordable units are need in the area and the City of Worcester?
2) The neighborhood will have less illegal activities with this development?
3) This one amazes me-- there is adequate on-street parking for which there is little demand from abutting parcels?

9 May Street

Wow-- what a story on WoMag!!

Before anyone says I have anything against Common Ground or any of the other CDC's, I do not!!! They have a valuable role to play in our community but we have invested way too much into these CDC's developing low to mod income housing. It needs to stop!!

We really need to look back and think about the variance we gave for this project. There is very little parking for these 46 units. Maybe we never should have given them the variance in the first place. By the way who did pay for the brand new sidewalk??? And how are the sewer betterments going to be paid?

I feel bad for Common Ground and the tenants having to deal with this, but maybe people will start finally asking questions about large variances to these high density low to mod income housing projects. If a person tried to develop this same project into high end condos, I doubt they would have gotten this variance, but would have most definately paid for any sidewalk and sewer repairs.

How many times has the City of Worcester dug up Main and Chandler Street the past 6 months in front of the Hadley?

Planned Parenthood

What do you guys think of the design of this building?

October 07, 2009

Urban Myths

I got three of them for you. My Dad would always tell me these stories, are they true? Dont know for sure--Jahn?

  1. On Southbridge Street years ago there were two huge piles of Sand/Gravel. Some kids were playing there and they were buried alive.
  2. The Route 290 Bridge over McKeown Rd near the Holy Cross Football field collapsed during construction.
  3. A bunch of kids built a fort with one exit. Somehow a fire started at the door and they got trapped, could not get out and were all killed.

I am 99 percent number 2 is true but 1 and 3???

Campaign Notebook

In Telegram today??

Germain to kick off campaign tonight

The Committee to Re-elect Michael Germain City Councilor-at-Large will hold a campaign kickoff tonight at 55 Pearl, which is located at 55 Pearl St. The event will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Suggested donations are $25, 50 or $100. Donations are suggested. Checks can be made payable to the Committee to Elect Steve Buchalter.

October 06, 2009

Dan Benoit

Jahn, he was the architect who first came up with the idea to put a hole in the Worcester Center. Had to meet him today on some NRSA issues. Great guy and has his own practice on Park Ave. Matter of fact Dan is meeting with the some Southbridge Street property owners tonight for a South Worcester Business Council meeting to discuss the facade program.

McCarthy Letter to Editor

click here

In these tough economic times our City Council’s solution is to increase taxes. We are facing a huge budget gap, and the Council is passing on its mismanagement in the form of another tax increase (hotel/motel and meals). And the councilors gave themselves an 84 percent pay increase. Why do they deserve a doubling of their pay? The raise is certainly not merited. This is not a situation in which we should be rewarding council members for a job well done. They should be fiscal watchdogs for their constituents. If elected, I would roll back these pay raises.

check his website

Mayoral Debate

It will be replayed today on WCRN. I did, however, read about it in the $1.00 retail Telegram. I have a couple questions:

First, when Mayor says Joe O'Brien wants to "shift some of the tax burden to homeowners". What is she talking about? I read Joe O'Brien's Economic Development ideas, there was no shift to the homeowner. Ideas like the Citizens for Business Philadelphia idea are all incentives to increase the commercial tax base to take the burden off the homeowner? Maybe in the next debate Joe O'Brien should ask what ideas has she passed while in office to increase the commercial tax base?

Second, Joe O'Brien said "three previous mayors were associated with key development projects in the city, while Mrs. Lukes has none'. Can someone tell me what three developments were associated with the last three mayors:
  1. Murray
  2. Mariano
  3. Levy

Seriously I do not know. Is Joe giving Tim Murray credit for City Square?

October 05, 2009

Glenn Beck

He was at Barnes and Noble the other day and I drove by to have a buy a signed book, but the line was way too long. The police estimated there were some 500 people there with the line starting at to form at 6AM for the 4PM signing.

In the story by Telegram, it was reported that one anonymous person in line told the reporter "predicted the story in today's paper would focus on the six people protesting on Lincoln Street at the entrance to the shopping area instead of the people waiting in the rain to have Mr. Beck sign his book for them.. "

Ironically he was right the story does seem to pay way to much attention to 6 protesters, that I did not even see, while 500 plus are waiting in line. Maybe it is biased reporting like this that has caused people not to pick up the Telegram??

September Tax Collections

Fall short by some 243 million dollars. Click here

Target Out of Town Landlords


Did Councilor Toomey really say that?


Worcester Telegram

Now $1. Although it says 75 cents on the newspaper, it actually should cost $1.00 retail. Make the newspaper smaller, cut content and raise price 33%?

October 02, 2009

D4 Debate

Today on the Gary Rosen Radio Show between 11 and noon 830 AM on your radio dial and on the net. I am calling in to ask Councilor Haller and her opponent, Grace Ross, how they feel about the Philadelphia Plan?


The questions was asked by Gary.

Barbara responded by saying that it only applied to existing businesses. Our fault, we need to do a better job explaining the concept. Although it would be apply to existing businesses, it is not limited to them. The hope is not only to we encourage current businesses to expand but that we attract new businesses. Barbara, however, quickly followed up and said she would vote lowest residential and would not shift any of the tax burden on the backs of the residents.

Grace seemed to like the idea, although she needed to know morebut she also said that we need to really look at the whole tax system and did not commit to the lowest residential tax rate at this time.

October 01, 2009

Verizon Gold League Champs

Sorry been bsuy celebrating our Verizon Monday night golf league championship at Holden Hills for the 3rd time in ten years. Note picture of the banner hanging from my partner's front porch on Grove Street.