Through a number of partnerships and internships, WCG has committed to support the economic development of the Chandler and Pleasant Street area. At the close of 2014, we completed a preliminary inventory of the Pleasant corridor as part of the Pleasant Area Community Team (PACT). The inventory details every property with descriptions of businesses, contact info for business and property owners, notes on the facade, and notes about if the property has vacancies. Our group intends to meet with area businesses to address their concerns, and connect them to each other, as well as to municipal resources.
The completion of 133 Chandler Street in 2003 presented WCG with the opportunity to share a leadership role in neighborhood economic development. WCG began efforts to provide staff and organizational resources towards the growth of the Chandler Business Association (CBA). In just one year of work with the CBA, there were already many successes along Chandler Street. Efforts began with getting crosswalks painted and abandoned parking meters removed. As business efforts matured, initiatives included the "Chandler Treescapes" Fund to which local businesses made private donations towards the planting of trees along Chandler Street sidewalks, trash receptacles were installed, and the Network Center began the "Around the Corner" summer jobs program. In 2004 the Chandler Business Association (CBA) and WCG applied to the City of Worcester to have the Chandler Business District designated as a Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA). The Chandler Business Street NRSA Grant has begun to generate economic development funding in support of the CBA's revitalization planning
After three years of planning, we are really seeing the impact. Storefront improvements are complete at Suny's Pub, 208 Chandler Street and Bahnan's Bakery, through the Façade Program. We are now able to provide matching funds of up to $15,000 per business, and the Worcester Housing Improvement Program, a part of the NRSA, provides support to residential properties for needed improvements. Additionally, WCG has funded and installed roofs at 23 Newbury and 23 Hawley. WCG is grateful to Laurel Cipiari (Banknorth), Andy Serrato (Serrato Signs), and Bil Randell (Advantage Benefits) who have provided invaluable guidance and support through their work with the CBA.
Worcester Common Ground, Inc. 5 Piedmont Street Worcester, MA 01610 USA508-754-0908
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