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WRA works on urban renewal plan.

Byline: Susan Gonsalves

WORCESTER -- At a panel discussion on urban renewal this week, the head of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority said the authority is in the early stages of developing a new urban renewal plan that will focus on the downtown and a theater district.

Vincent A. Pedone, chairman of the WRA, said the agency will present names of people this week to serve on an advisory board to the WRA. The advisory group will work on a draft urban renewal plan that outlines public and private initiatives; the work will include a map of the targeted area, proof of blight, deterioration or substandard conditions, and proposed action for improvements.

WRA is working with consultant BSE Corp. of Cambridge.

Urban renewal has gotten a bad name in the past, according to panelists Monday at the Business Expo at the DCU. The panelists, who discussed how urban renewal can be used to transform blighted areas back into useful ones, included Carol Wolfe of the state Department of Housing and Community Development; Kevin Morrison, general counsel for the Boston Redevelopment Authority; and Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong.

Ms. Wong talked about the importance of constructing a concrete, definitive document and having people in place with specific roles during implementation. She said all projects need not be subsidized by the public; combined private and public funding can work successfully.

Mr. Pedone told the City Council's Economic Development Committee Monday night that the WRA board will make recommendations to the city manager about people to serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the development of a new urban renewal plan. The WRA board will meet at 8 a.m. Friday in the Levi Lincoln Chamber at City Hall.

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Title Annotation:Business
Author:Gonsalves, Susan
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 10, 2014
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