Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Letter to City Council regarding parking at the Worcester Public Library

Thanks to my colleague Brian O'Connell for writing this excellent letter to the City Council regarding parking at the library:

Last Thursday, the Worcester School Committee voted (item gb #3-98)“to ask that the City Council, in addressing the Downtown Master Plan, preserve the current parking lot behind the Worcester Public Library, for the benefit and well-being of the citizens – and especially of the children of Worcester – who depend on the library.” This resolution passed by majority vote; a second motion, to ask that the plan assure "appropriate" parking to meet the needs of the library, passed unanimously.

As a school system, we work to develop, and to enhance, the literacy skills of our students. Parallel to this, we try to develop in our students a life-long enjoyment of reading, and of learning. The Worcester Public Library is essential to both, especially for our students who have limited financial resources, and language skills. The library, in turn, must be readily accessible to them, and to all citizens who call upon its resources, its technology, and its meeting facilities to make Worcestera community and center of lifelong learning.

The McGrath parking lot is vital to this ready access. As demand for downtown parking increases, this lot becomes progressively more essential in providing our students, and their parents, a safe, convenient, ready, secure and comfortable means of visiting the library, especially during evenings. More distant and/or limited parking – together with construction of a facility which will aggravate demand for parking in the library area – represents a significant detriment to library use, especially by the young people and their families who, because of limited resources, depend upon it most.

The lot is, at present, the “highest and best use” of its land – a community investment in learning, and a statement of the value Worcesteraccords to education and to knowledge. I urge you to leave the parking lot – and the ready access to our library which it provides – undisturbed as you deliberate the future of our theatre district, and or our downtown.

Thank you for your consideration.

Brian O’Connell
Vice Chair
Worcester School Committee

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