July 2, 2017

Inbox [July 2-8]: News and notes from Zipcar, South High, Armory Business Center, Worcester Public Library, WPS, POW! WOW! Worcester

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Zipcar launches in Worcester

Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network, announced a partnership with the city of Worcester to bring its “wheels when you want them” membership service to area residents, businesses, visitors and students.

Six Zipcars are available for reservation by the hour or by the day in easily accessible locations downtown. The vehicles are parked in designated spots for convenient pickup and drop-off and can be reserved on Zipcar’s mobile app, online or over the phone.

The Zipcar Worcester fleet features a variety of makes and models. Each reservation includes gas, insurance and 180 miles of driving per day.

“We’re excited to bring Zipcar to Worcester as part of the city’s growing transportation network,” said Chris Moulding, Zipcar regional community marketing manager.

The launch in Worcester builds on the company’s success at Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Worcester State University. With a number of students already using Zipcar, the company was eager to expand its presence off-campus.

“The City of Worcester is constantly looking for ways to grow smartly and this agreement with Zipcar helps us do that by reducing the need for parking spaces downtown and giving our residents a more sustainable alternative to owning a car,” City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. said. “As our downtown continues to grow and increasingly becomes a neighborhood where people work, play, and live, it is important for us to provide robust transportation options and this helps us achieve that goal.”

Local businesses in Worcester can benefit from Zipcar’s presence through the Zipcar for Business (Z4B) program, which offers discounted driving rates Mondays through Fridays.

Mayor Joseph M. Petty said: “For residents who need a car for a weekend or people coming in on the train or on the bus for a day trip, it will allow them to see all that Worcester and Worcester County has to offer.”

Read the entire story on the Zipcar website

MSBA Board votes to move new South High into design phase

The Massachusetts School Building Authority Board of Directors voted to move the South High Community School in Worcester into the Schematic Design phase. In the Schematic Design phase, the MSBA and the District will look at options to replace the existing school. The next step is for the MSBA to work with the district to produce detailed designs for a potential project.

“Thanks to our collaborative work with local officials, we are working to build a 21st-century educational facility that will provide Worcester students with a top-notch learning environment,” state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said.

The proposed project would create a new 347,000-square foot facility to replace the current building, which suffers from deficiencies in major building systems including mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems. The existing South High is a 246,000-square foot facility located on a 41-acre site. It was constructed in 1978.

The MSBA estimates the replacement school’s cost at $191 million.

Read the entire story on the Massachusetts School Building Authority website

State approves SWIP TIF for Armory Business Center

The state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development recently approved Worcester’s Tax Increment Financing plan for Armory Business Center. The plan was among 16 agreed to by the state.

Armory Business Center signing

Courtesy Steven Rothschild

Steve Rothschild, seated, has big plans for his Armory Business Center in the South Worcester Industrial Park.

Armory Business Center plans to construct a 20,500-square-foot building in the South Worcester Industrial Park. The building will consist of 10 suites of between 1,880 and 2,300 square feet for high-tech, industrial, manufacturing and R&D companies.

The city of Worcester previously approved a 20-year TIF valued at more than $770,000.

Read the entire story and see the list of approved projects on the Commonwealth of Mass. website

Worcester Public Schools’ Camp Explore begins this week

Nine elementary schools will host Camp Explore for Worcester Public School students entering Grades 3 through 6 this week.

The camp runs from Wednesday, July 5, through Friday, July 28. The time varies by school. Parents may register their children at a school on opening day. Breakfast and lunch will be served. The program includes book clubs, math games, the science of weather forecasting, the arts, and physical education.

See the complete schedule on the WPS website

Library offers summer-long Community Conversation series

The Worcester Public Library will hold a series of community conversations this summer in the Saxe Room of the main branch at Salem Square. The topics:

  • Traveling with Purpose: Making a Difference Overseas, 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 11
  • Returning to Community After Prison, 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 18
  • Civic Engagement: Serve and Be Heard, 6-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 19
  • Supporting Worcester’s Refugees, 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 25
  • Addiction & Recovery: Book Talk and Discussion, 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 1
  • Urban Planning with the People with Dr. Tom Conroy, 6-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 16

Register online at mywpl.org or call 508-799-1655, ext. 3.

POW! WOW! Worcester launches crowdfunding campaign for Elm Park Community School

POW! WOW! Worcester and MassDevelopment announced a campaign through the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity and Commonwealth Places.

The campaign aims to transform Elm Park Community School with 11 large-scale interior and exterior murals. The school plans to partner with POW! WOW! Worcester to bring artists from across the globe in to install the murals and develop programming focused on art education.

“This campaign to change the public perception of Worcester and Elm Park Community School through colorful murals and public art will call attention to the school’s rich cultural history and spur renewed interest from the community,” said MassDevelopment Vice President of Real Estate Services Amanda Maher.

“Elm Park Community School welcomes and supports this community initiative,” Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and their families, as well as for our faculty. We are thankful to POW! WOW! Worcester for helping put Elm Park Community School on the world stage as a vibrant destination for learning and culture.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by midnight Aug. 25 the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program.

Those looking to donate can visit the project’s Patronicity page.

Read the entire story on the MassDevelopment website

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