Clark President David Angel and Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien announced Monday (Sept. 20) that the University and the city will pursue the closing of a short section of Downing Street, from Florence Street to Woodland Street, to create a pedestrian plaza for students, staff and neighborhood residents. The move is expected to enhance safety and will improve the continuity of the campus.
“This agreement continues Clark’s long record of work with the city, and deepens the University’s already strong ties with the Main South neighborhood. We’re pleased to be entering into a new phase of mutual cooperation and growth with Worcester through this win-win proposition,” Angel said.
* Local news coverage: “Clark, city make pact” (Worcester Telegram 9/20/2010) *
The Downing Street project would coincide with the design and construction of federally funded streetscape improvements for Maywood, Main, Downing and Beaver streets that will create a Main South “gateway” for the city.
As part of the agreement, Clark will make $262,000 in annual voluntary payments to the city for the next 20 years, with a 2.5 percent escalator each year.
The payments are designed to align with Clark’s educational mission and its commitment to the Main South neighborhood. In addition to the money designated for the Downing Street work, a portion of the annual payments will be used to help pay the debt service on the city’s proposed $1.5 million renovation of University Park. Clark also will contribute funds to support the operations of the Worcester Public Library.
“Clark University is a tremendous partner, community asset and great neighbor in positive ways too numerous to mention, but I will – from supporting our public schools, to revitalizing Main South, to providing homeownership opportunities, to giving scholarships to our local students – and the list goes on and on from there,” said City Manager Michael V. O’Brien. “This agreement builds upon our strong relationship and further affirms that our bright futures are tightly intertwined. I am very grateful to incoming President David Angel and the Board of Trustees.”
Among the varied contributions that Clark already makes to the city, especially in the Main South neighborhood, are:
- The operational and financial support of the University Park Campus partnership with the Worcester Public Schools and the neighborhood revitalization efforts working with the Main South CDC and the city in the Kilby-Gardner-Hammond area
- The $2.5 million investment in the new playing fields to be constructed adjacent to the Boys and Girls Club on Tainter Street
- Providing University Park scholarships for neighborhood students
- Offering credit courses for University Park Campus School and Claremont Academy students
- Providing services and programs, free of charge, to Worcester Public Schools students, staff and faculty, as well as City of Worcester employees, annually. These include scholarships, credit courses and professional development support.