Jane Week gives Worcester residents and visitors a chance to connect with each other, explore Worcester by foot and participate in interesting discussions on how we can enhance the design and function of our city.
The event next month is named for Jane Jacobs, an urban theorist and activist who championed a community-based approach to city building. Jane Week in Worcester primarily features Jane Walks, volunteer-led walking tours, a pop-up parklet and other forums.
Jane Week in Worcester joins an international movement that occurs the first week in May in more than 250 cities across the world.
Worcester Sun is a proud partner of Jane Week in Worcester.
Here are all the Jane Week in Worcester events:
TUESDAY, MAY 2
Growth by Design
7:45–9 a.m., DCU Center Arena
The Worcester Regional Research Bureau will kick off Jane Week activities with a discussion of urban design and its importance for cities like Worcester. Beginning with an overview of urban design by one of New England’s leading design experts, a panel of practitioners from Massachusetts cities and towns will discuss the challenges and opportunities for local governments in promoting and regulating urban design.
Organized by Worcester Regional Research Bureau
Woodland Academy School Route Cleanup Walk
8–10:30 a.m., Woodland Academy, 93 Woodland St.
Woodland Academy is building a sustainable Safe Routes to School program that helps students walk and bicycle safely to and from school. The PTO Public Safety Committee will hold a clean-up walk along designated routes to school to get ready for Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day. The event starts with a kickoff breakfast, followed by teams of volunteers walking the priority routes with gloves and bags for trash pickup, and finishing with wrap-up and raffle.
Organized by Woodland Academy PTO and Worcester Safe Routes to School
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WEDNESDAY, MAY 3
Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day
Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day is a statewide event through the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. Last year, the Commonwealth celebrated the biggest event to date with more than 42,000 elementary and middle school students walking or biking to school! Let’s get walking and biking to school in Worcester on this day. Better yet, in honor of Jane Week, we are encouraging Worcester residents to leave the car home as much as possible. See how much you can walk, bike, take the bus or ride the train to the places you need to be this week.
Worcester City Hall: A Palace for the People
12:30-1 p.m., Front entrance, City Hall
Take a 30-minute “flash” tour of Worcester’s City Hall and see why it was called “A Palace for the People.” Take a close-up look at the imposing Renaissance Revival exterior and the sweeping curved staircases at the main entrance. As you climb the Grand Staircase, look up at the barrel vaulted ceiling, stately marble columns, and magnificent moldings. Learn the historical significance of the Star on the Sidewalk and the contributions of early citizens Levi Lincoln, Esther Howland, and the Norcross brothers.
Hosted by Marilyn Polito, Preservation Worcester
A Taste of C.H.I.P. (Community Health Improvement Plan)
5–7 p.m., Rear entrance, City Hall. Arrive at 4:15 for yoga, music and City Hall tours, 5 for Walk The CHIP Walk starts promptly at 5 by the back entrance of City Hall. Join us as we highlight the great work being done to make Worcester one of the healthiest cities in the country. The CHIP Walk will feature a mobile farmers market, a tree planting at a playground, innovative health centers and a few of the organizations that are “CHIPping” in to improve the health of Worcester residents.
The CHIP Walk starts promptly at 5 by the back entrance of City Hall. Join us as we highlight the great work being done to make Worcester one of the healthiest cities in the country. The CHIP Walk will feature a mobile farmers market, a tree planting at a playground, innovative health centers and a few of the organizations that are “CHIPping” in to improve the health of Worcester residents.
Hosted by Dr. Mattie Castiel, Dr. Michael Hirsch and staff of the Worcester Department of Public Health
THURSDAY, MAY 4
Pop-Up Parklet Party
4-8 p.m., Outside of Deadhorse Hill, 281 Main St.
Celebrate Jane Jacobs’ birthday on Main Street. A miniature park will pop up on the north end of Main Street. Come experience painting and music, explore historical neighborhood photos and eat birthday cake in celebration of Jane Jacobs.
Organized by Action! Worcester
Design Your Ideal Neighborhood
5:30–8 p.m., Pop-up parklet, North Main Street
The EcoTarium’s new exhibit “City Science: The Science You Live” is an immersive, family-friendly exploration of the science stories hiding all around us. The EcoTarium is bringing a piece of the exhibit “Magnetic Neighborhood” to the pop-up parklet for you to get creative designing your ideal neighborhood and hear more about Worcester’s starring role in this first-in-the country exhibit.
Hosted by Betsy Loring, director of exhibits at the EcoTarium
Worcester’s Economic Revitalization: Past, Present and Future
5:30–6:30 p.m., Front entrance, City Hall, 455 Main St.
Get a view of the city’s vision for Worcester’s economic revitalization with a special focus on Union Station, City Square and Mercantile Center. This walk will end at the pop-up parklet on North Main Street.
Hosted by Michael Traynor, chief development officer, city of Worcester
Worcester Wall to Wall
5:30–6:30 p.m. Front entrance, City Hall, 455 Main St.
Public art often draws people to public places and serves as a key ingredient for urban revitalization. Learn the stories behind some of the murals and graffiti in the city and discover some hidden creative gems on this walking tour. Walk will end at the pop-up parklet on North Main Street.
Hosted by Che Anderson and Sarah Valente, Pow! Wow! Worcester
FRIDAY, MAY 5
Worcester’s Famous Ghost Tour
5:30–6:30 p.m., Front entrance, City Hall, 455 Main St.
Ever wonder who once walked the streets of the city? Join the Worcester Historical Museum for an evening of insightful and surprising experiences as you encounter phantoms of Worcester’s past on this walking tour.
Hosted by staff of the Worcester Historical Museum
SATURDAY, MAY 6
Walk Your Sanctuary in the City: Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
9 a.m.-4 p.m., Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Road
This 430-acre wildlife sanctuary offers more than five miles of well-marked trails for walking and exploring. Trails are always open dawn to dusk. Some trails are considered accessible and designed for wheelchairs, baby strollers and walkers. Volunteers will be on hand to especially welcome visitors during Jane Weekend. Located 1/2 mile from Route 20 or via WRTA Millbury 22 bus route. Call the Visitor Center at 508-753-6087 for more information.
Urban Renewal, Then and Now
9:30–11 a.m., Saxe Room, Worcester Public Library, 1 Salem Square
A 45-minute documentary on the demise of Worcester’s Laurel/Clayton neighborhood and the rise of Plumley Village in the 1960s will be followed by a panel and open discussion. What lessons can we learn from Worcester’s past urban renewal? In what ways is our future economic development compatible with the preservation of intact neighborhoods?
Moderated by Dr. Thomas Conroy, Urban Studies Department at Worcester State University
East and East and Up!
10 a.m.-noon, Lion statues, Christoforo Columbo Park (East Park), Shrewsbury Street
Hike a section of the East Side Trail as it travels from Shrewsbury Street up to the top of Belmont Hill and up to an old quarry in Green Hill Park. It is quite a pump, but the views are worth it. The East Side Trail is a three-mile trail that connects Shrewsbury Street to Lake Quinsigamond traveling through Green Hill Park and along conservation land by Coal Mine Brook. The East Side Trail represents a collaborative effort with the Greater Worcester Land Trust, the Green Hill Park Coalition and City of Worcester. Bring water and snacks.
Hosted by Deborah Cary, Mass Audubon, and Colin Novick, Greater Worcester Land Trust
Finding Worcester: A Family Scavenger Hunt Adventure
11 a.m.-1 p.m., Worcester Historical Museum, 30 Elm St.
Upon your arrival at the museum, you will receive your scavenger hunt questions and your hunt will take you around the downtown. Return to the museum by 1 p.m. to have your answers checked and receive your prize! This is a family- and stroller-friendly adventure walk.
Organized by Walk Bike Worcester and Worcester Historical Museum
Una Passeggiata: A Stroll Down Shrewsbury Street
1–2:30 p.m. Front entrance, Union Station, Washington Square
Learn about the history of one of Worcester’s most vibrant ethnic neighborhoods – from its early Pine Meadow days, through Italian immigration, to its present status as Worcester’s “Restaurant Row.”
Hosted by Marilyn Polito and Francis DeNicola, Preservation Worcester docents
On the Water at Coes Reservation with Mass. Audubon
2–4 p.m., Coes Reservoir Beach, Mill Street
Come enjoy a canoe ride or try paddleboats on one of Worcester’s most wonderful waterways. Coes Reservoir is home to plans for a new intergenerational park, a new hiking trail around the southern shoreline established by the Greater Worcester Land Trust, and the relocated historic Stearns Tavern. Personal Flotation Devices (PDFs), paddles, and instructions provided. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult guardian and all participants must know how to swim.
Sponsored by Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary
Kilby-Gardner-Hammond: Community-Driven Neighborhood Revitalization in Main South
4–5:30 p.m., Main South Community Development Corporation, 875 Main St.
The KGH Project represents a community-driven approach to the redevelopment of an inner city neighborhood. The Main South CDC worked with its development partners (Clark University, the Boys & Girls Club and the City of Worcester) to reclaim a 30-acre blighted section of the Main South neighborhood that had more than 40 vacant lots and more than $600,000 of property tax liens. This $32 million project produced 107 affordable housing units, including 44 units that were sold to first-time homebuyers, a state-of-the-art Boys & Girls Club, a bike/pedestrian pathway, and a new athletic facility for Clark University.
Hosted by Casey Starr, Main South Community Development Corporation
SUNDAY, MAY 7
Religion and Radicals: Revisiting Worcester’s Jewish East Side
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Oak Hill Community Development Corporation, 74 Providence St.
Until the 1950s, East Side’s Union Hill was the locus of Worcester’s large Jewish immigrant community. Re-experience the history of this ethnic neighborhood with stops at former synagogues, a neighborhood ritual bath house and even the site of famous anarchist Emma Goldman’s ice cream shop. Tour ends on Water Street with optional lunch at the Broadway Restaurant.
Hosted by Moe Bergman, city councilor, attorney and Preservation Worcester docent
Hike the East-West Trail at Newton Hill
Noon–1:30 p.m., Spencer Savings Bank parking lot, 230 Park Ave.
Hike the Edward Winslow Lincoln Trail that passes disc golf baskets and an urban orchard at the summit. Along the way the tour will discuss the development of the Fire Alarm Building, the history of Elm Park, acquisition of Newton Hill, the orchard, and partnership with Doherty Memorial High School.
Hosted by Ruth Seward, Director of Worcester Tree Initiative and Stacy Hill, Friends of Newton Hill
Walk Your Sanctuary in the City: Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
12:30-4 p.m., Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Road
This 430-acre wildlife sanctuary offers more than five miles of well-marked trails for walking and exploring. Trails are always open dawn to dusk. Some trails are considered accessible and designed for wheelchairs, baby strollers and walkers. Volunteers will be on hand to especially welcome visitors during Jane Weekend. Located half a mile from Route 20, the sanctuary can be reached by the WRTA Millbury 22 bus. Call the Visitor Center at 508-753-6087 for more information.
The Canal District, Past, Present and Future: Water Powered
2:30–4:30 p.m., Union Station front entrance, Washington Square
The Blackstone Canal opened in 1828 connecting Narragansett Bay to the town of Worcester. The Worcester economy exploded, enabling Worcester to incorporate as a city in 1848. About 15 years ago, a group of citizens advocating for the reopening of the canal started a revitalization effort to rejuvenate this mill neighborhood. Will water be the answer to the Canal District’s future growth? This tour will end with a “meet and greet” with some local businesspeople at historic Crompton Place.
Hosted by John Giangregorio, property and business owner, and JoAnn Mills, Preservation Worcester
“Jane Jacobs in the Woo” Award Ceremony
4:30–5:30 p.m., Crompton Place, 138 Green St.
“Jane Jacobs in the Woo” will announce the winner of the 2017 Jane Award, a person, place or project that best emulates the ideals of Jane Jacobs. Join us for some light refreshments.
[Click here for a four-page printable brochure.]