Worcester Redevelopment Authority
Originated in the 1939 Federal Housing Act's authorities for slum clearance and construction of public housing in the nation's rapidly deteriorating inner cities, urban renewal was introduced to Worcester in the 1950s and 1960s. In Massachusetts, urban renewal is governed by M.G.L. Chapter 121B, as well as 760 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 12.00, with oversight provided by the Commonwealth's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The urban renewal program invests the WRA, as a designated urban renewal agency, with certain powers to catalyze development within an urban renewal area. Using a combination of public and private funds, urban renewal plans establish local area goals and provide for public infrastructure investment and the public acquisition and disposition of certain properties in order to carry out the plan. Urban renewal powers include the power to determine what areas within its jurisdiction constitute decadent, substandard or blighted open areas, the power to acquire property through eminent domain and access to certain public funding sources.
The Authority is made up of five (5) members, four (4) of whom are selected by the City Manager and one (1) by the Governor (View Details and Members). The WRA is staffed by the City of Worcester, with the Chief Development Officer serving as the Chief Executive Officer, supported by staff from the City Solicitor's Office, the Budget Office, the Department of Public Works and Parks and the Executive Office of Economic Development.
Urban Renewal Project
Over the years, the WRA has been involved in six urban renewal projects in the City of Worcester, including:
- Area D Urban Renewal Project, Mass. R-15
- Elm Park Urban Renewal Project, Mass. R-57
- Expressway Urban Renewal Project, Mass. R-16
- New Salem Urban Renewal Project, Mass. R-5-1
- Medical City Urban Renewal Project (formerly East Central Urban Renewal Plan) - Still Active
- Union Station Urban Renewal Revitalization Plan - Still Active
The WRA is currently working with BSC Group, Inc. on a seventh urban renewal project. This current project focuses on an area of roughly 80 acres including the Worcester Theatre District and parcels northwest and southeast of the District.
Worcester Redevelopment Authority - Citizen Advisory Committee
The Worcester Redevelopment Authority has assembled a 13-member Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to provide input on the development of the current Urban Renewal Plan (URP). The group will work with the WRA to provide expertise on various concepts and approaches as the plan develops.
The CAC members include:
- John Brissette, Chair
- Jill Dagilis, Vice Chair
- Frank Carroll
- Linda Cavaioli
- Paul Demoga
- Jack Donahue
- Alex Dunn
- Allen Fletcher
- Honee Hess
- Michelle Jones-Johnson
- Alec Lopez
- Stacey DeBoise Luster
- Mable Millner
- Deborah O'Malley
- Hong Tran
On February 25, 2015 the Worcester Redevelopment Authority hosted its first public meeting to educate the community about Urban Renewal and introduce the current Urban Renewal study area.
The tentative project timeline is as follows:
January 2015 - April 2016: Identification of target area, complete public outreach/comment period, complete analysis of area, draft urban renewal plan.
May 2016: WRA review and approval of urban renewal plan.
May - June 2016: Planning Board and City Council review and approval.
June 2016: Plan submitted to Commonwealth's Department of Housing and Community Development for review.
For more information, please call (508) 799-1400 x249.