October 28, 2012

Housing Authorities

Boston Globe, interesting read

Nick K today

This week you will hear alot of false statements regarding the Housing Policy written by RKG.   Obviously not many people have the time to read the report.  I ask you to read Nick K and yourself this question.

Do you like the statistics that you see?

If you do, then we should continue to keep doing what we have done the last ten years.    If you do not, then we need to change the Housing Policy. 

It goes back to what I said earlier.  If the current Housing Policy was working, nobody would support more then me.    Statistics do not lie. 

October 27, 2012

Who are RKG ?

This is the company who has completed the Housing Study for the City of Worcester.

Very impressive, check out their work

And awards.....  

Interesting Meeting

The November meeting of the Shrewsbury St. Neighborhood Association will take place on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at the Mt. Carmel Recreation Center, 28 Mulberry St. beginning at 7:00 P.M.
Do you know what would happen if there was a major chemical spill in your neighborhood or the CSX Freight Yard? What should you do during natural disasters, such as a flood or hurricane? These and other important questions will be answered in a Special Presentation by, Dave Clemens, of Worcester's Emergency Management Team,
Refreshments will be served. All our meetings are open to the public.  This is our last meeting of 2012. We will then go on our winter break until March of 2013.    Contact Gary Vecchio at vecchio14@gmail.com for more information.

Canal Lofts

Slide show

I would support this project in a second versus the buildings that were built on Cambridge and Southgate through the South Worcester Improvement Corportation

Winn Development at Trade School

Winn did a great job on the Chevalier Building..  Good mix of housing and adequate off street parking.    Project looks great!

I am sure they will do a good job on the Trade School.  Some of these projects, especially an older building like the Trade School simply can not be renovated 100% with private dollars since the corresponding monthly market rental rates would not cover the costs. They utilize grant monies for "affordable" housing to leverage the project and make the project feasible.   These are good projects.  

Again these are good projects, spur investments into an area and should be supported.   Check out the Canal Lofts website and drive by this project, this a great project.

Current Housing Policy

If the current housing policy was working, nobody would be a bigger supported of it then me since I have a vested interest it's success!!

Simply look at the results of the Housing study from RKG??  Numbers do not lie.  We have invested 100's of millions of dollars into neighborhoods that have some of the worst conditions in the City of Worcester.

So we should invest another 100 million and hope to get different results?

Jay Givans Blog

Read this one

October 26, 2012

GKH latest phase -- 293,000 per unit

There was a story in the Telegram today that the last phase consisting of 22 units cost $6,450,000.    Lets just look at the numbers.  That equates to 293,000 per rental unit.    Assume for a second this is the way we address the Worcester Housing Policy.

How many units can we do when they cost nearly 300,000 per rental unit?  

October 25, 2012

RKG Newest Recommendations

1. REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE: This recommendation seeks to focus on eliminating blighted housing units; connecting homeowners/tenants with quality available properties; and renovating vacant or underutilized properties in poor condition into high-quality residential opportunities.

2. CONNECT THE HOUSING AND JOB MARKETS: This recommendation will look to incorporate private and public housing development strategies into a broader economic development plan and link the city’s existing employer/employee base to housing opportunities in the city.

3. STABILIZE NEIGHBORHOODS NOW: This recommendation seeks to promote homeownership opportunities, job creation, infrastructure improvements, and community needs in targeted, high-risk neighborhoods through short- and long-term

October 24, 2012

Nick K Telegram story

The city's overall housing vacancy rate jumped by more than 50 percent during the past decade, rising to 8.1 percent in 2010 compared to 5.2 percent in 2000, according to a housing market study done for the city.The study, prepared by RKG Consultants, also found that the city still exceeds the statewide mandate requiring that at least 10 percent of its housing supply be comprised of “affordable” units.

Of Worcester's nearly 75,000 housing units, 9,486 are so-called “income-based housing,” which accounts for 12.8 percent of the housing supply.  Based on projected needs, the consultant has suggested that the city should consider maintaining a supply of 9,000 to 9,600 income-based housing units over the next five years.  Between 2000 and 2010, the number of vacant housing units in the city increased by 2,340 units, to a total of about 6,000 units, according to the study. The dramatic jump in the vacancy rate was fueled in part by a growing number of bank-foreclosed properties that have yet to be made available for sale or rent.

Also, there are indications that a large number of units, especially those in older multifamily homes, are being kept off the market by owners to avoid factors such as strong tenancy laws, the decline of desirable renters, capital costs to bring units up to code, or general disinterest in being landlords. In addition, housing production in the city since 2000 averaged nearly 430 units per year, but household growth was unable to keep pace with that — it was sufficient to occupy only 40 percent of the housing that was created, with the remaining 60 percent representing “excess market supply.”

“Future housing production is likely to slow down over the near term in order for household growth to catch up, which is similar to what occurred during the 1980s,” the report said. “Alternatively, vacant units can be reduced through strategic demolition and consolidation.” The last time the city's vacancy rate came close to 8 percent was back in the1980s — an overproduction of housing that occurred back then led to a 7.9 percent vacancy rate by decade's end, according to the report.

Worcester's housing vacancy rate is also nearly double what it is in the region (4.4 percent) and more than double what is typically considered a “balanced” vacancy rate in the 3 percent to 4 percent range. The vacancy rate in the city ranged from 5 percent to as high as 16 percent, with the highest rates occurring in urban neighborhoods such as Green Island, Main South, the downtown and the East Side. Lower vacancy rates existed in the West Side, the Greendale/Burncoat area, Green Hill and Beaver Brook areas, all of which had rates of 6 percent or less.

The study pointed out that older, physically and economically distressed housing units had the highest vacancy rate, a factor it considers important to Worcester's future housing needs since 52 percent of its housing stock was built before 1940 and 78 percent was built before 1980.  “The concentration of (higher) vacancy in the urban core indicates a relative lack of demand for this area which may be a reflection of housing quality,” the report said.

City Manager Michael V. O'Brien said the study makes it clear that physically and economically distressed properties, including vacant buildings, bank- or tax-title properties, are eroding the quality of some neighborhoods.  He said the city finds itself at a critical crossroads in which it must strengthen and adapt its housing resources at a time when the economy is at a near standstill. “These great neighborhoods have been in a delicate balance of stability for some time and many have held their own, in large measure due to those who are and work hard to do so,” Mr. O'Brien said. “The challenge is far too great now, with far too much to lose. Great work has been done and hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into many of these distressed neighborhoods and still ground is being lost every day.
“Our revitalization efforts must be undertaken in a much bolder, strategic way through unprecedented public-private partnerships — in a block-by-bock, street-by-street and house-by-house manner,” he said. “We must use this opportunity to revisit our existing policies and funding priorities.”

In conjunction with the housing study report, the city manager has come out with a strategy intended to ensure that Worcester remains an attractive place for people to live. His strategy focuses on the need to eliminate blighted housing units, renovating vacant or underutilized properties in poor quality into high-quality residential properties, incorporating private and public housing development initiatives into a broader economic development plan, and promoting home ownership opportunities.  “The work ahead will be complex and will be most challenging,” Mr. O'Brien said.
Other key findings in the study were:
•It is estimated that about $120 million in capital investment is needed to upgrade the condition of the 5,676 housing units that are considered to be in “below average” condition, or worse. The three-decker housing stock is in most need of capital investment, as 16 percent are considered to be in below average condition. Those houses in poor or very poor condition should be considered for demolition or replacement, given the city's excess supply of available housing.
•The city remains predominately a rental market, with homeownership increasing only marginally between 2000 and 2010 — 44.5 percent of the homes are owner-occupied.

•Over the last four years, petitions to foreclose averaged about 520 single-family homes and 150 condominiums per year. That represented 2.1 percent and 3percent of the single-family and condominium supply, respectively. In comparison, the number of petitions to foreclose in the region represented about 1percentof the respective housing supply there.

•It is estimated that about 33,600 households would qualify for income-based housing in Worcester which represents 49 percent of all households in the city.

October 23, 2012

Report slams distressed properties

That is the title in the Telegram today.  In the words of Yogi Bera, I am having deja vu all over again.  For the second time in ten years, RKH has provided a report on the state of the Housing markets in Worcester that is dead on.   For the second time in ten years the people who have a vested interest that the current Housing plan does not change will attack this report.   The only question is will the City Council a) cave to these factions or b) take the findings of the report seriously?

Here are some highlights:

  • City exceeds the state wide mandate of 10%
  • The city should MAINTAIN the current supply.  In other words do not ADD TO IT!!!
  • It is estimated that about 33,600 households would qualify for income based housing in Worcester which represents 49 percent of all households in the city.

Read that last bullett again!!!  Can't wait to watch the spin tonight at City Council or tomorrow in the newspaper on how wrong this report is and how we need to continue what we are doing.  

October 22, 2012

GoLocal Affordable Housing

Must read --thanks dave Z

Click here

October 21, 2012

Jetblue prediction

Time running out on October prediction???

October 18, 2012

Jay Givan Blog

Click here

I personally have never heard of this!!  

State rep candidate Winthrop Handy, an independent business owner of 36 years, in six simple words, got to the heart of this year’s election issue at GoLocalWorcester’s debate, asking incumbent democrat Jim O’Day “How do you create a job?”    O’Day didn’t answer despite the four day preparation time Handy gave when he said he was going to ask the question at the WB debate.

The answer is simple, but an issue raised by candidate Bill McCarthy may get traction. He asked if Rep O’Day is paying federal income taxes due to a federal law allowing legislators living 50 miles or more from the state house to deduct their federal income tax share for those days while in session. O’Day, by a Google Map directions search, places him 50.2 miles from Beacon Hill, and according to the original 2010 WCVB report, ‘Beacon Hill’ has technically been in session since 1988.

October 13, 2012


The City should find a way to offer the entire site (SWIP) to Polar Corp. for below-market value, with property tax incentives (a TIF deal, to promote actual development by Polar).   

if not Polar,  P &  W Railroad or what the hell CSX?     Or an Absolute Machine or a Dave Carlson!!        

Eighteen friggin years, bet you 15 million dollars?  and not one friggin job! 

South Worcester Industrial Park

The other night, against my better judgement, I went to a meeting of the South Worcester Industrial Park.  Before I go any further everyone there are very nice people and this is nothing against our new District Councilor, Councilor Rivera.  Read this link from Nicole's blog.    August 1994 was the initial proposal!


October 7, 1999 – “Stephen F. O’Neil, director of the city manager’s Office of Planning and Community Development, said an estimated 1,760 new jobs with a payroll of $45 million could be created at the blighted South Worcester Industrial Park, a 25-acre complex of old buildings. The city estimates it would need $27 million to clean the area

18 years later since the initial proposal and we have spent millions and have not created one job!!!  In fact we have lost jobs by having companies move out of some of these businesses that were torn down.   The other night the talk was about 1) a marketing plan, which we do not have and 2) a name change.  I say Metro-West Boston Worcester Industrial Park.

Bottom line is the South Worcester Industrial Park Task Force and the City of Worcester Economic Development office has had 18 years to work on this.  

It is time to give this project to someone else!!  Look no further then Gateway Park!!!!   This is no differen then the airport.  Just like the City of Worcester should not be in the airport business, we should not be in the Industrial Park business.

Eighteen years and we do not have a marketing plan and not one job. 

October 12, 2012

Worcester Editorial

The Worcester Election Commission last Thursday showed wisdom and restraint by putting off any call for investigation into alleged voter intimidation or other problems at certain polling spots during the Sept. 6 primary election.

The commission’s Sept. 10 meeting featured numerous speakers who raised the rhetorical stakes to absurd heights. The hyperbole included references to Selma, Ala., two declarations that Worcester is “not Ohio,” and one activist repeatedly tossing about the word “fascists.” We’re not sure what Ohio has to do with anything, and we haven’t seen any real-life fascists marching in Worcester.

The evidence presented so far paints a picture of organizations that, while on opposite sides of the political fence, share the goal of ensuring that everyone who is legally entitled to vote has the opportunity to do so. Add to that a bit of confusion over some of the finer points of election law, and you have a situation that calls for a re-emphasis on mutual respect and better training for poll workers and watchers.

That’s exactly the direction the Election Commission chose Thursday night. The result should be a hard-fought, but smoother and calmer Election Day ahead

October 10, 2012

Sound of Music

Wrap Replacement

Zig Zag has Cigarillos. What are these?  They are wraps now with tobacco in them.  People buy these, dump the tobacco and you have a wrap.

Picture Above

note the names

Worcester Common Ground now says they basically have nothing to do with this?? 

October 09, 2012


I was going to post a couple videos that I saw today, but I changed my mind.     Did not want to see comments like I did the last time I embedded  a YouTube video.  An embeded video without any comments--just an embeded video? 

"Sean Dacey said... Try reading the article I linked to. It explains the landlines for the poor, which was expanded to include cell phones, by Bill Clinton.   As for the trolling comment, I was saying nicely that you were race baiting and appealing to the lowest common denominator with that video clip. Stay classy, Bill. "

EPA Application

Wouldn't one have to commit perjury completing an application looking for 300,000 of grant monies from the EPA, when you are actually not the owner??   You are applying in name only and have a "pocket" deed  that you are going to record when the EPA leaves going back retro-active to the day you supposedly took control of the property back to the original owner, that now you say you have nothing to do with, although you were alledgedly minority owner at the time of the award?

Completely outrageous!!! 

Meeting with Common Ground

Last year (2011) we had a meeting with Common Ground Board members at the Temple on Dewey Street to discuss this property when it appeared that they were the owners of the property.  They assured this that they would address all of our concerns.

Would have been nice to have told us that they had a "pocket deed" in their possesion that they were sitting on that would eventually record when the EPA had signed off retro-active to 2005!!!!  The more and more you look into this, the more is amazes me.

Two deeds done the same day

Imagine if anyone else did this??

  1. Company A (for profit) says to Company B (non-profit), hey I need some helping gettting 300K from the US Govt.
  2. Company A wants to deed property to Company B so they can get 300K from the EPA and will not have to pay it back since Company B is a non profit.
  3. Company B is worried about any liabilities that could come back at them
  4. Company A says do not worry we will have another deed the same day deeded it back to me but we need to wait until we get all the monies and the property is signed off
  5. Once that is done then we can record the deed retroactively.    

Mason Street

  1. November  2, 2005, City of Worcester sells 48 Mason Street to Mason Winfield (bk 37717/pg 51) for 66,853.   At that time Common Ground's position was that they were the minority partner.   Dead dated 10/31/2005.
  2. January 10, 2006, Mason Winfield deeds 48 Mason Street to minority partner, Common ground for $10 (bk 38185/pg 55),but the deed is dated November 22, 2005.
  3. Why did they do this?  Since Common Ground  is a non-profit they  do not have to pay back and of the clean-up grants from the EPA.  Believe the grant was in the $300,000 range.
  4. May 6, 2011. Common Ground deeds 48 Mason Street back to Mason Winfield for $10 (bk 47367/pg 3), but the deed is dated November 22, 2005.

    Is it just me or does anyone else think this is wrong.    On November 2, 2005, the two deeds are signed one from Mason Winfield to Common Ground for $10 and the other from Common Ground back to Mason Winfield for $10 to be recorded after the EPA signs off, but was not recorded so they could fleece the EPA for 300,000..    

    Putting that all aside, it has been 7 years!!    The property sits a complete mess and us the tax-payers are out some $300,000 in EPA monies that were granted for clean-up here and Common Ground basically says they have nothing to do with the property???

    October 03, 2012

    A-1 Window

    Sorry bad picture

    5 newly privately renovated store fronts in Main South

    Go Local Coverage on HUD Report

    Click here

    October 02, 2012

    Hampton Properties

    Private developer in Main South

    Hampton Properties.   We should be congratulating private developers like this, instead we pretend that they do not exist?

    A-1 Window

    On Main Street, where A-1 window use to be, on corner of King Street.    Recently renovated--looks great!!

    Private development.  I will take a picture later and post.

    October 01, 2012

    What is a troll?

    Looked it up.   Now, I understand what a troll is...  

     Here is my question, how can I be a troll on a blog that I write?    Isn't someone, who posts a comment on a blog that I write, calling me a troll by definition a troll him or herself?

    2. troll 2990 up, 797 down

    1a. Noun
    One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

    1b. Noun
    A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, ect.
    A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a "Flamer" who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.

    1c. Noun
    A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

    2a. Noun
    Sometimes compared to the Japanese ‘Oni’, a troll is a supernatural creature of Scandinavian folklore, whose race was thought to have carried massive stones into the countryside (although actually the result of glaciers). Lives in hills, mountains, caves, or under bridges. They are stupid, large, brutish, hairy, long-nosed, and bug-eyed, and may also have multiple heads or horns. Trolls love to eat ...

    Gas Prices

    Allen Fletcher

    Central Mass Chronicles

    Why don't you get some priavte developers on your show who invest in Main South

    As far as 5 May Street goes, we agree.   The private developer in this case ripped off the City of Worcester and never should have been advanced monies as the projected progressed.

    Can someone find this episode on-line..  

    Revolution to Revere

    check this out