Worcester Developments

WormtownNative

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There isn't much of an Italian community left, is there? Some of them are still around but aging and evaporating, and the kids mostly took off or don't latch onto the Italian identity like their parents/grandparents did. And whoever is still going to church, a number shrinking every year, moved down Grafton St. a few years back when Mt. Carmel closed.
The Italian community that's still left is still active, but it's smaller in size. Can't go further than that as I'm no longer a practicing Catholic nor am I Italian in any way, shape, or form (unless you count an affection for good pizza and pasta.)

There's definitely too many Catholic churches in that immediate vicinity. Mt. Carmel is within walking distance of St. John's, Holy Family and St. Stephen's (the latter 2 of which are literally across the street from each other and are now the same parish). In a different era, they served individual ethnic communities - Mt. Carmel was Italian, Holy Family was Quebecois, and St. Stephen's was Irish. In some regards, this is still true - Holy Family had actually been closed for a number of years, but was reopened thanks to community pressure. It's now carved out a niche for the Haitian and Brazilian communities in the Grafton Hill area. We live in a nearby town, but were until recently members of Holy Family because my wife had a connection with the pastor, who has since left. The English Masses were fine for attendance, St. Stephen's always did better, but the Brazilian Mass especially was huge every week. Meanwhile, St. John's focuses on works and serving the homeless, and it is as healthy as it ever was.
Could not have said it any better myself. I think however, that the closures have only started. They will continue to close down as the weekly attendance and the supply of priests dwindles.
 

WormtownNative

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Update for this project....as was predicted on here, financing has proven difficult. "Plan B" is in effect:

...Originally plan A, called for a nearly $2 million project to repair the music hall and bring old school big names and up and coming artists to play on the stage. The project also included, building out a restaurant and buying equipment. Flynn and Wright hoped to close on the theater by the end of July through kickstarter funding and other private donations.

Funding fell short and the duo paid monthly costs to extend the due diligence period, which ran through July.

With more than $80,000 already sunk into the theater built in 1891, plan B involves shelving live music in the concert space for now.

Instead, the focus is to open the restaurant first, generate revenue through it before turning the focus back on the theater space.

“The realization was strong a week ago, but it’s always been there on the back burner,” Flynn said. “It’s always been our plan B. We just didn’t come up with it.”
It’s all contingent on Flynn and Wright purchasing the building, which they have a deposit on.

About a year ago, they reached out to the building’s owner Dick Rizzo, who acquired the building in 2006 for $60,000. The property is set to be sold for about 10 times that.

“It’s been very stressful the last six month,” Flynn said.

They’ve talked to about 15 private investors - some in person and others on the phone. Nothing materialized as they still lacked about $400,000 to continue with renovations.

“Every single (investor) says ‘You’ve got 15 seconds to get 15 minutes, go!’” Flynn said. “It’s very stressful because, for me, I like to talk to people and see how they’re looking. Are they digging what you’re saying or not? So when you’re on the phone talking to someone from Georgia or LA or Nevada, you wonder, who is this person?”
Full Article
 

SlothofDespond

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Within a few blocks of the Olympia are: the DCU, Mechanics Hall, the Hanover Theatre, and the Palladium. There was also a relatively large stage outdoor concert series this summer in the parking lot behind the Palladium. I'm guessing that continues going forward since it seemed well-attended. Between all those venues that's a lot of coverage of different types of stage needs. I'm guessing securing funding for this might be a tough sell.
 

cubalibre

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They gave short shrift to Mount Carmel over the weekend. I was out of town and just took some pictures when they dismantled the bell tower.
In somewhat related news, the plans to build more apartments on the Notre Dame church site have been dropped, so that parcel will sit empty for the foreseeable future. I never liked the plans as the didn’t include a lot of ground level retail, but now there will be just wasteland. I think residential and commercial supply downtown has reached a saturation point for now.

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itchy

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This is why Worcester can't doesn't have nice things.
 

Hubman

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The fact that Worcester couldn't afford to preserve two lovely buildings is sad and also the reason they lose nice things.
 

Shepard

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I have a Worcester question. Where do all the people live? Whenever I drive through I can't visualize how it could be more populous than Providence, Springfield, Hartford, New Haven, etc. There doesn't seem to be any central node of density. Is it simply a big city by population numbers because the municipal borders include a lot of triple decker sprawl?
 

kmp1284

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I have a Worcester question. Where do all the people live? Whenever I drive through I can't visualize how it could be more populous than Providence, Springfield, Hartford, New Haven, etc. There doesn't seem to be any central node of density. Is it simply a big city by population numbers because the municipal borders include a lot of triple decker sprawl?
Can’t say specifically where ‘all the people live’ but it’s probably worth noting that Worcester has twice the land mass of Providence(37.6 square miles vs 18.4) so maybe there isn’t much real density.
 

cubalibre

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Can’t say specifically where ‘all the people live’ but it’s probably worth noting that Worcester has twice the land mass of Providence(37.6 square miles vs 18.4) so maybe there isn’t much real density.
Springfield/ Manchester: ~33 sqm
Hartford: ~17 sqm

Portland: ~69 sqm
Boston: ~89 sqm

So yeah, Worcester is very spread out, mostly residential.
 

Shepard

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Great replies, thanks. Are there economic indicators that justify Worcester as the #2 New England city, or is it simply municipal boundaries?
 

DZH22

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Great replies, thanks. Are there economic indicators that justify Worcester as the #2 New England city, or is it simply municipal boundaries?
2nd thing. I would say it's the #4 New England city at absolute best, well behind Providence and Hartford. It's like Charlotte being a "bigger" city than Boston, only in the sense that it's 300 square miles!
 

BarbaricManchurian

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New Haven is definitely above Hartford for urbanity. Probably Portland, Maine is also above Hartford. I'll admit that most of the other midsized cities are mediocre.
 

Seanflynn78

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Please note when looking at a cities square miles that you don't include water. Boston is 49 sq miles of land (roughly the same land area as San Fran) and Portland Maine is only 21 sq miles of land. Worcester is compact, tons of triple Decker's and row houses, the city of seven hills, very similar to Waterbury CT.
 

TC_zoid

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Yes, an important fact discovery Seanflynn78. I always hate when outside journalists write stories about Portland and mention it as a small town of 67,000. I've been to cities with double its city population, but with only one-tenth of what Portland has to offer. And, if you include the numerous hotels and summer homes during the warmer months of the year, the population approaches 80,000. In the same manner, I also find it irritating that some might think El Paso, Texas is bigger than Boston, and double that of Miami! Ever been to El Paso? Why? (El Paso's city population is ten times bigger than Portland, Maine, so it's offerings must be ten times greater.)
 
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Lrfox

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Yes, an important fact discovery Seanflynn78. I always hate when outside journalists write stories about Portland and mention it as a small town of 67,000. I've been to cities with double its city population, but with only one-tenth of what Portland has to offer. And, if you include the numerous hotels and summer homes during the warmer months of the year, the population approaches 80,000. In the same manner, I also find it irritating that some might think El Paso, Texas is bigger than Boston, and double that of Miami! Ever been to El Paso? Why? (El Paso's city population is ten times bigger than Portland, Maine, so it's offerings must be ten times greater.)
It's true that Portland has a small land area, but it's not as if it is busting at the seams from an urban standpoint. Really, once you leave the peninsula, Portland loses density pretty quickly. By the time you hit Westbrook, Scarborough, Falmouth, etc. you're essentially in low-density suburban neighborhoods. Even if you tacked on South Portland which adds about 25k people in 12 square miles of land, you're still looking at a city of under 100,000. Really, it's best to ignore city limit populations altogether and just go with the Metro. You could make the argument that Portland's metro is even a little inflated since it's simply the combination of York, Cumberland, and Sagadahoc counties. Big chunks of which realistically are pretty disconnected from Portland, but I'd say between 400-500k is about right for Portland.

Portland has a great, but small, urban core. Better than most in New England. I think that a lot of that has to do with the fact that Portland's urbanity is so heavily concentrated on the peninsula rather than spread across the city limits. And I'd agree that it definitely doesn't feel quite as small as the 67k would indicate. But it's not a similar case to Hartford or Providence where the dense urban area extends way beyond the borders of the city. Portland's certainly a nicer city than Hartford, or even Worcester, but it's very obviously a good deal smaller than either. Portland's peer cities in terms of size are places like Asheville, Lexington KY, Shreveport LA, Chattanooga, Harrisburg, etc. Not "small towns" per se, but very little when compared to the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. I lived in Portland for a good while and I felt the outside perception of Portland was fairly accurate, or even inflated a bit. Realistically, I think it's generally on point in spite of the small city-proper population.
 

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