Mr. City Manager,
Last year, the City Council charged you with finding a solution to the longstanding parking problems on narrow neighborhood streets around the campus of Worcester State College.
I know that you took the Council's request seriously and that you have worked quite hard for months to put a proposal together that could be presented to the Council, the neighbors, the public and all other concerned parties.
Mayor Petty and I supported you in that endeavor because, during the fifteen months that I have served as the District 5 Councilor, so many area residents have told us that the number of student cars parked on their narrow side streets has been and continues to be an intolerable situation.
With the care, concern, courage and skill that you show in all that you do, you were able to talk to several parties and put together a parking proposal and plan that involved the conversion of the field at Chandler Magnet School into an 800-car parking lot. Eventually, that lot would allow hundreds of student cars to be moved off narrow neighborhood streets. The lot would provide area residents with long-awaited relief.
And, among several others, the proposal included provisions for new soccer fields, the acquisition of additional open space, and solutions to the parking and playground challenges at three elementary schools.
Although you hoped to present the plan in its entirety on April 1 to all concerned parties, the entire proposal has been made public during the past few days. While the plan has so much merit and good in it, all of us are aware of the strong opposition to it from abutters, neighbors, users of the field and others.
The Mayor and I have heard from both supporters and opponents of this parking lot proposal. Supporters say although it is not a perfect plan, it is an acceptable one because there are so many good things in it to benefit our youth, school and community.
Opponents, on the other hand, say that what the city gains is not what matters the most. They are more concerned with what the city loses. Simply put, they value this open space as a multi-use athletic field and a natural area to walk and spend some time with children and grandchildren. They simply don't want to give up this open space and field for any amount of gains.
They suggest let's keep this field, give it a little more TLC than it's seen in the past and continue to work together on parking challenges and the city's need for soccer and other athletic fields.
Mayor Petty and I have discussed all aspects of this proposal and we have decided to ask you not to proceed any further with this plan.
We do appreciate and thank you and several others who have been involved in putting the plan together so that it could be properly presented to the neighborhood and our city