Yes for a Better Worcester: Continuing our Mission of Improving the City
After extensive deliberation with our Coalition members and community leaders, the Yes for A Better Worcester Coalition has decided that we will not seek to put the Community Preservation Act on this November ballot through the initiative petition process. Instead, we have decided to defer the effort to bring CPA before the voters until next year.
The Yes for A Better Worcester Coalition wants to publicly thank Mayor Petty and City Councilors Kate Toomey, Khrystian King, Sarai Rivera and Sean Rose for their leadership in wanting voters to have the opportunity to decide on CPA on the November ballot. We are deeply disappointed that the other six City Councilors choose to ignore the will of 82% of the voters and thirty years of local precedent of letting Worcester residents have a vote on important community issues.
While this was a difficult decision for the Coalition members, the short timeline between the Council’s vote and the September 1st deadline did not allow sufficient time to launch and execute the grassroots effort needed to collect the more than 5,400 required signatures. We believe that by deferring this decision to next year, we can continue to engage the community in a thoughtful dialogue about the CPA and how it could benefit our community.
We believe it is important for people to know that our city’s residents will still have to keep paying fees into the state CPA Trust fund, but we will not receive any of this funding. (Worcester has lost out on more than $14,000,000 in state matching funds because we have not passed CPA.) We also know that our city will continue to have a need for funding to create more community housing, support historic preservation, improve our parks and playgrounds and preserve open space. The loss of the historic Notre Dame Church and the recent allocation of $500,000 of city tax levy funding for Stearns Tavern are examples of how we could have used CPA funding and there are countless other worthy community projects waiting for support.
Because the needs of our community are not going away, the Yes for A Better Worcester Coalition will continue to meet and work together to improve our city and its neighborhoods. While Worcester is moving in the right direction with new projects downtown and potentially a new baseball stadium, we still need to invest more resources in affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation to make a more sustainable and livable city. The Community Preservation Act is a wonderful tool to leverage these investments, but we know that our city and its people can support these efforts in other ways and we hope to support this through each of our supporting organizations’ work. Please find listed below is a list of these groups that are engaged in improving our city on a daily basis. This listing has information about what our endorsing groups are doing, contact information so you can learn how to support their efforts and the greater mission of a better Worcester for everyone. We will also update this information on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/yesforabetterworcester/ and on our web site at www.yesforabetterworcester.com.
We thank all of you for being part of this effort and we invite you to join us at our next Yes for A Better Worcester Coalition meeting on Thursday, September 6th at 8:00 am at Preservation Worcester.
The Yes For A Better Worcester Steering Committee
Coalition Member Groups
Housing and Community Development Groups
Main South CDC
The Main South CDC is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life and sense of community for the residents of the Main South community by working together on projects such as affordable housing and supporting economic opportunities for businesses and residents.
New Americans CDC
The New American Community Development Corporation (NACDC) is a division of CENTRO that intends to undertake community redevelopment, renovation projects and activities that revitalize an “economic desert area” within Worcester.
Oak Hill CDC
Oak Hill CDC is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that creates opportunities to connect with resources, fosters leadership, and supports community members in Worcester in their efforts to enhance and revitalize their neighborhoods.
Worcester Common Ground
Worcester Common Ground works to promote and develop permanent and sustainable improvement in the neighborhoods of Central Worcester through affordable housing, community activism and economic development.
Worcester Community Housing Resources, Inc.
Worcester Community Housing Resources is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to create and preserve affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate income households and to initiate and support neighborhood revitalization throughout Worcester County.
Environment, Open Space and Recreation Organizations
ELM Action Fund
The ELM Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization established to advocate for the protection of the environment in Massachusetts.
Greater Worcester Land Trust
The Greater Worcester Land Trust is a non-profit (501 c 3) organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Worcester County’s critical open space.
The Mass Audubon is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and is an environmental education leader that aims to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and for wildlife.
Regional Environmental Council of Central MA (REC)
REC is a grassroots environmental & food justice organization dedicated to building healthy, sustainable and just communities in Worcester and beyond.
Sierra Club - Worcester Chapter
The Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) organization that protects the environment through successful legislative, advocacy, and educational campaign
Worcester Tree Initiative
The Worcester Tree Initiative aims to revitalize and improve Worcester’s urban forests and to educate and encourage the public to become neighborhood tree stewards.
Historic Preservation Organizations
Preservation Worcester is a non-profit organization that aims to maintain for future generations the sites and structures which are significant to the culture, history, and architecture of Worcester and to encourage excellence in future design.
Preservation Massachusetts (PM) is the statewide non-profit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage.
Sustainability, Livability and Other Organizations
The EcoTarium is a family-friendly, indoor-outdoor museum located in Worcester whose mission is to inspire a passion of science and nature.
Jane Jacobs in the Woo
Jane Jacobs in the Woo is a blog that honors the spirit of Jane Jacobs by giving a platform for dialogue on Worcester’s past, present, and future, and a voice for Worcesterites.
Walk Bike Worcester
WalkBike Worcester (WBW) works to make walking and bicycling in Worcester more safe, pleasant and convenient and to reduce environmental and climatic impact of transportation.
Worcester Cultural Coalition
The Worcester Cultural Coalition ( WCC) is a public-private partnership between the City of Worcester and twelve cultural organizations that draws on Worcester’s rich and diverse cultural assets to foster economic revitalization, support active, creative engagement for all and promote a strong cultural identity for Greater Worcester.
Worcester Historical Museum
The Worcester Historical Museum is devoted local history and includes a research library of over 7,000 titles, an archive that houses thousands of documents, and a collection of artifacts.