One of our newest initiatives includes the reclaiming and re-purposing of a lot that has been vacant for three decades.  In response to an influx of individual complaints from residents of the Piedmont neighborhood to 1) an increase in the presence of drug dealers and users in community parks and other open spaces; 2) trash dumping in the same spaces; and 3) a lack of new projects and activities in this area, Worcester Common Ground (WCG) aims to create a community space at 22 Newbury.  And now, our project is finally off the ground!

Starting in October 2014, WCG has been working to convert a vacant lot of 30 years into a multifaceted urban escape -- one that residents of the area can make their own, and use to get to know their neighbors and develop more pride in their community. 

In April 2015, WCG was awarded a grant through Working 4 Worcester to work with a group of volunteers from the company Abbvie and community residents to organize a massive cleanup of the vacant lot.  By day's end, we cleared away an entire city dumpster full of trash, concrete, brush, and scrap metal.  

Throughout the whole process, WCG has collected resident input on what the space should include -- consensus arrived at a multi-use space that includes community gardening, a communal seating area, and a space for self-expression through public art.  Our hope is that this project will provide neighborhood residents with a safe outdoor community space in which they can feel pride. As community pride is an incredible neighborhood stabilizer and deterrent to negative activity, this project can act as a mechanism to address the issues of drug use, illegal dumping, and a lack of public space in our Piedmont neighborhood.  

At of the beginning of July 2015, WCG secured a lease from the City of Worcester so we can make this project a reality.  We went before the Historic Commission to get permission to construct a new, black aluminum fence on the front of the lot -- since the lot is located in the Crown Hill Historic District, the Commission requires approval before moving forward with new improvements.  You can read more about the Historic Commission hearing from the Telegram & Gazette HERE.  

The above rendering shows one of the proposed site plans based off of resident engagement.  We are also continuing to collect resident input on the proposed name for the site -- our youth artist on staff is circulating design sketches for the community space sign with the following options: Dirt Share, The Secret Garden, Can You Dig It?, and Landscapes of Love.  The name with the most votes from neighbors will be used to create a welcome sign! 

Stay tuned for more updates on our fundraising campaign so we can make this project a reality.  And as always, feel free to reach out to our Community Organizer, Charise, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions, suggestions, or desire to volunteer!

Contact Us

Worcester Common Ground, Inc.
5 Piedmont Street
Worcester, MA 01610 USA
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