“The bureaucratic machinery mirrors popular belief”
It’s not so much whether we can do better, it’s whether we want to
Hello everyone! Stoked on the piece I have for you today. It’s something of a “return to form” for me after a couple months of feeling like I’d sort of lost my voice to some extent. It’s about our city’s worsening unhoused situation and insufficient response. I’ve been working on it all week and it’s only good timing that yesterday the administration announced a new emergency shelter at the old RMV. While a welcome update, it’s still wholly insufficient. I’ll explain. This is a long essay so please take your time. No rush to read it all “as an email.”
First, a few bits of business.
The Dirty Bill Special
Next Monday, I will be doing a feature performance at the Dirty Gerund Poetry Night at Ralph’s Rock Diner! The event starts at 8 p.m. and I’ll be going on somewhere in the middle. I’m pretty jazzed on what I have planned. It’s gunna be... manic.
And if that’s not enough of a draw for ya my lovely talented girlfriend made a special stained glass piece for the occasion which she will be raffling (ralphling) off at the event!
It’s gunna be a fun time!
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Ok business time over. Journalism time.
“The bureaucratic machinery mirrors popular belief”
“Until we solve the fundamental problems of political will, resource commitment and a lack of understanding of the issue as structural in nature, homelessness will persist.” —Gregg Colburn and Clayton Aldern, Homelessness Is a Housing Problem (2022)
Over the past few months, the state’s shelter capacity has been a recurring news item as increased funding for shelter capacity has become a political football. It’s most often talked about in the context of the ongoing migrant crisis. But it was a problem well before the migrant crisis emerged and there’s no good reason to believe it’ll get any better barring some new intervention. In a lot of ways, the framing of the shelter issue as a result of the migrant crisis gets our city and state government off the hook for structural problems they were all too happy to maintain before the current crisis.
We saw that quite clearly in a recent WCVB interview with none other than our former city manager turned state housing secretary Ed Augustus.
Right off the bat, one of the hosts, Sharman Sacchetti, frames the shelter issue as a migrant issue.
“We want to start out with a story that’s really dominated headlines for weeks: the shelter crisis, driven by an influx of migrants.”
“We know we need some overflow sites,” Augustus said. A different tune than Augustus as city manager, but of course the hosts didn’t ask about that. He was allowed to talk about the shelter crisis as some new, unforeseen thing. Important for later in the piece, however: Augustus in the interview mentioned that there are new state/United Way grants available for communities to open emergency shelters.
But to get there an overview is needed.
The situation in Worcester is especially dire and illustrative of the underlying problems that the migrant crisis has exacerbated. Here in this city, we’re failing to provide the bare minimum, and no one is really talking about it.
We’re heading into the winter with an emergency shelter capacity shortfall experts estimate to be about 200 to 225 beds. Permanent supportive housing projects have lagged and stalled for years. Over that same time, the number of unhoused people in the city has risen exponentially. The city administration has done less than nothing to increase year-round shelter capacity and they haven’t tried to hide that fact.
A new emergency winter shelter will open on Dec. 11 (originally projected for Dec. 1), per a city news release yesterday—the product of “hard work and perseverance,” as Batista put it.
City Manager Eric D. Batista announced Thursday the opening of an emergency winter shelter for single adults experiencing homelessness at the former Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) Service Center located at 611 Main St. in Worcester.
The emergency shelter is expected to open the week of Dec. 11. South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) will staff and operate the 60-bed shelter, which will be open 24/7 through the end of April.
The shelter will be staffed 24/7, and will provide showers, meals, support services, and a security detail.
“The opening of this emergency winter shelter is the culmination of our community, along with the state, coming together to figure out a solution to make sure no one is left outside in the cold during the winter months,” said City Manager Eric D. Batista. “I can’t thank the state and our community partners enough for their hard work and perseverance to secure a location that is centrally located, close to services, and accommodating of needs.”
The 60 new beds only put a small dent in the ~220 bed shortfall. There is no plan for emergency shelter capacity which would fully cover the deficit. The last line of Batista’s quote—”accommodating of needs”—is doing a lot of lifting.
Over Batista’s tenure, he and other officials have continually reiterated a policy strategy that claims to favor permanent supportive housing over temporary shelters. It sounds nice. In the abstract, permanent supportive housing is better than temporary shelter housing. But in reality, the city has done neither.
Only a small percentage of the roughly 100 permanent supportive housing units in the works since 2018, under the city’s Housing First plan, are operational. The majority of those units are likely years away from existing. Similarly, City Manager Eric Batista said tentative plans for a day center for the unhoused will take at least two years to execute. Batista and Health and Human Services Commission Mattie Castiel were slow to state these two facts plainly, only presenting the information when made to by councilors Etel Haxhiaj and Khrystian King at a Nov. 14 City Council meeting. If they weren’t asked, they wouldn’t have brought it up. And it wasn’t information included in their report to the city which prompted the conversation–nor was the 220 shelter bed deficit.
What was outlined in that report, incomplete as it was, raises serious concern. The city’s chronically unhoused population has doubled over the past three years. More on the report a little later, but it’s dire. We have neither the shelter capacity nor the permanent supportive housing to meet the need. The reality is we need both, and we need it now. But that reality is not the one portrayed by city officials. Instead of building more temporary shelter capacity while permanent supportive housing projects crawl to completion, the city made it an “either / or” issue. Instead of shelters, we’ll do this other thing. Reality demands “both.” Shelters now and permanent supportive housing. But officials refuse to acknowledge that reality.
It is already dangerously cold. We are heading into deadly winter months with temporary shelters already full and plans for an emergency shelter that does not come close to accommodating the projected shortfall of need. On the coldest nights, when shelter demand is the highest, we could very realistically be in the position of turning people away from the cots that save their lives. Shelters are not just “at capacity” as city officials have said. They are at a deadly deficit. And no one is saying that out loud.
This was true before the narrative about a statewide migrant crisis putting a "strain" on shelters emerged. It is not a “perfect storm” as Mayor Joe Petty recently described it. It is a policy failure at the city level. That failure is a reflection of the city administration’s political will.
It is not dramatic to say that, absent an increased response, the city will have blood on its hands this winter. It’s not just me saying so. This is a deep concern of national policy experts on the matter. In City Councilor Etel Haxhiaj’s new day job, senior policy manager for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, she writes a monthly newsletter (it’s great, subscribe here) and the most recent edition included a post from Barbara DiPietro, the council’s director of policy, titled “Pray for the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living.”
Housing can be the difference between life and death, but housing remains out of reach for many. Health care continues to be inaccessible, wages are deplorably low, disability benefits aren’t sufficient, and many communities have invested in criminalizing homelessness instead of ending it. Hence, there is no shortage of news articles on homeless deaths like these from Anchorage and Maricopa County. Even TIME Magazine wrote about homeless mortality in West Virginia.
However, no one knows how many people experiencing homelessness die each year in the U.S. — the richest country in the history of the world.
We do not even know when an unhoused person falls to the elements. Even just collecting the data on these deaths, as DiPietro explains, is an uphill battle. The situation is dire.
Emergency shelter, especially winter shelter, is a last resort and basic obligation. A baseline expectation that we’re failing to fulfill. But we don’t talk about it that way. We talk about whether it’s really our responsibility. We talk about “the towns.” We talk about our “state and federal partners.” We say shelters are “at capacity” but we don’t talk about what that might mean on a given night. We say we’re “working hard,” that we’re “collaborating” and that the discussions are ongoing.
“People shouldn’t think we’re not doing anything on this,” Petty said, opening an hour-long discussion of a city report on homelessness at the Nov. 14 City Council meeting.
“This is like the perfect storm,” he said, commenting on the report.
The report certainly illustrates a dire situation, but the implication of a “perfect storm”—that it came about suddenly, to the surprise of those experiencing it—is, at best, inaccurate. This was a storm with a lot of advanced warning and conscious decision making on who gets protected from it, and how.
The report, written by Health and Human Services Commissioner Mattie Castiel, was summarized for the Council by City Manager Eric Batista. The summary opens with this:
Worcester is currently facing a significant increase in homelessness. Over the past three years, the number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness has doubled, reaching 132 from 65. The city is also facing challenges in accommodating migrant families as the available shelters are at full capacity.
The rental vacancy rate in Worcester has plummeted from 1.7 to 0.5 percent, marking the city with the lowest vacancy rate in the entire country. This shortage of available rental properties is intensifying the homeless situation further.
Additionally, the single adult homeless shelters in the city are operating at or near their max capacity. This strain severely restricts Worcester’s ability to provide housing for those experiencing chronic homelessness.
It’s worth noting that the rental vacancy rate is extremely significant. In Homelessness is a Housing Problem, a great new book I just finished, authors Gregg Colburn and Clayton Page Aldern explain:
“The final group in our typology of cities are boomtown—currently illustrated by the cases of Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco. These cities embody the perfect storm for housing instability and homelessness: high growth, low supply elasticity, high housing costs, and extremely low vacancy rates. It’s in this manner that homelessness can thrive among influence.
If that isn’t the situation in Worcester, I don’t know what is! A perfect storm, but not the one in Petty’s imagination. This is a perfect storm the city has by and large encouraged. We saw this perfect storm coming and did less than nothing. We welcomed it. Called it a “renaissance.” Oh well.
The administration’s report includes a bulleted list of very worrying data points.
This is a very bad situation a long time in the making. It has been well documented. (Read the full report here, it’s a short one).
What was glaringly absent from the report was the shortfall of shelter beds versus the projected need. I’ve had those numbers for months. They are kept by the Central Mass. Housing Alliance, which is even cited in the report, just not this part. I reported them out a few weeks ago:
Per data kept by the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, there are about 139 beds for unhoused people between the various permanent and temporary shelters.
Based on data from last year and projected increases, there will be around 363 single adults in need of shelter on what CMHA calls a “peak” night this coming winter, “peak” meaning one of the biting cold or stormy nights when spending the night outside is especially dangerous.
With 363 beds needed and 139 beds available, the city is looking at a shortfall of 224 beds heading into this winter with not a ton of time—or, let’s be honest, political will—to remedy that situation. This is important to keep in mind when you hear the frequently espoused argument against temporary shelters that “we should be looking at more long term solutions.” The thing that makes that line bad faith is that you need to do both, and the people saying it tend to say it in a context which implies they’d rather do neither.
It’s a stretch to think the authors of the city report are unaware of these numbers. But the city report only goes so far as to say shelters are “at capacity.” And during the Council’s discussion of the report, the city’s plans for opening a 60 bed emergency shelter was taken mostly as an adequate response. It wasn’t until some 45 minutes into the discussion, when Etel Haxhiaj took the floor, that the deficit was even addressed. She asked how many beds were short.
“Probably around 200,” Castiel said.
“Probably around 200,” Haxhiaj said, “and the emergency shelter we’re trying to set up is probably going to be around 60, 65. That means that at any given night in Worcester, we might have upwards of 500, 600 people experiencing homelessness. I’m only talking about individuals. This does not even count the families that now cannot enter the shelter system. I’m going in this line of questioning because I want folks to understand the bigger picture. The state cut rental assistance to $7,500. They also prevented people from accessing that support by putting additional barriers in place, while luxury housing keeps getting millions and millions of dollars.”
As for the fact we’re short 200 beds and only adding 60, that small exchange was that. No follow up from anyone. No plan to address it. The discussion moved along. The city’s press release about the emergency shelter doesn’t mention it. There are no plans to add more emergency beds that have been made public.
Before the shelter was announced yesterday, officials were cagey about the location. In that Nov. 14 meeting they only said it’s in the works for Dec. 1 and there’s a location. They didn’t say the old RMV. It’s not a mystery why. Shelters are reliably fought tooth and nail by neighbors. Over the past year “neighbor opposition” to shelters like Blessed Sacrament and the Lutheran Zion Church were a common refrain. The backlash is such that the city was afraid to tell the public where those 65 beds were going to go. The backlash is such that most of our city councilors talk about how it’s unfair for certain district city councilors to have to endure shelters in their districts where others lack them.
District 3 Councilor George Russell’s line of inquiry at the Nov. 14 meeting illustrated that reality with cartoonish clarity.
“You referred to a location” for the emergency shelter, he said. “Does it have to be one location? Is there a reason why it has to be one facility? ... Why not have 5 locations, or does it really goof up the providing of the services?”
The number five is not an accident. There are five council districts. Russell’s idea for solving the problem of emergency shelter capacity being unfair to certain individual councilors was quickly squashed. It would require five times the staff to keep five locations open.
We do not center the responsibility to shelter people from deadly conditions as a basic expectation, but rather an unfair burden. We hash out who we think deserves shelter and who doesn’t. District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera provided us with a great example of that reality.
“We think about someone on the street who caused themselves to be there. We have this mentality... pushing a “shopping cart.” The reality is that that’s not just everything.”
For example there are seniors who are unhoused, she said. “I can’t imagine sending an elder to SMOC.” That would be unfair to an elder. But “someone on the street would cause themselves to be there” is different. We can all agree those people deserve to be treated like subhumans but seniors? The issue is thus “very complex.” We can’t continue to treat the unhoused so cruelly because a certain small portion of them don’t deserve it.
In this way, the “migrant crisis” narrative has been used as cover more than a call to arms. It’s a “perfect storm,” as Petty said. It came out of nowhere. A natural disaster. And we’re trying. But that “trying” doesn’t look much different than it has in the past. The “strain” laid out in the narrative doesn’t prompt an increased response, but rather allows for a more palatable justification of failure. The deficit in available shelter beds is recontextualized, conveniently, as something unforeseen due to this narrative. And it takes a lot of squinting to see through that. The newspaper and the radio station and all the online press release rewrite factories that comprise the local press corps gain nothing by doing such squinting. If the city says they’re trying their best, that’s the story. On our townie forums like Nextdoor and Facebook simply trying is a disaster.
There was one small moment during the City Council discussion that stuck with me as significant though I couldn’t quite put a finger on why until just now.
Answering a question from Councilor Etel Haxhiaj about funding sources, Mattie Castiel said that the state’s recent response to the migrant crisis has actually provided the city with an influx of funding for homeless shelters. The money is there, she said.
“The problem is actually...” She paused and shrugged. “...where.” She muttered the word. It was almost unintelligible. But she meant where they can open the shelters that they now have the funding to open. And where is a question of political will. Where is a question of backlash.
The significance of the comment was underscored by the fact City Manager Eric Batista quickly stood up and took over the conversation, changing the subject by listing other funding sources for homelessness response.
Castiel’s assertion that there’s new money available for increased shelter capacity proved inconvenient for the “we’re doing our best” narrative articulated by Petty and others. For a brief moment, the elephant in the room was exposed: It’s not so much whether we can do better, it’s whether we want to.
The moment was a dead-to-rights example of a passage from Homelessness Is A Housing Problem:
Homelessness isn’t a winning issue for local politicians—indeed, more frequently it functions as a political lightning rod that makes coordinated public responses to the problem more challenging. Even if the money were available, the political will might not exist.
In Worcester, this is the biggest barrier, I think. It’s one local officials fight like hell to avoid confronting. The best way to read Batista’s reaction in that moment is a man who knows the subject needs changing. The shelter bed deficit in this city is not a product of insufficient resources. Rather, it’s the result of a political calculus. The life-saving necessity of adequate shelter capacity is measured against “neighborhood concerns” and “quality of life.” At best, they’re assigned equal importance. But that’s generous.
In the context of this political calculation, it’s useful to look at comments Batista made earlier this year—in May, well before the migrant crisis narrative had emerged.
A May 4 article by Neal McNamara in the Patch headlined “Worcester Won't Pursue New Shelter Space For Homeless, Leaders Say” opens:
Leaders in charge of Worcester's homelessness response say they will not proactively expand temporary shelters, a policy shift that comes after officials last year helped open a winter shelter due to a rising homeless population and the loss of one of the city's main low-barrier shelters.
Worcester City Manager Eric Batista and Commissioner of Health & Human Services Dr. Matilde Castiel said the city will now focus on finding homeless residents spots in transitional and permanent-supportive housing. Those types of housing are higher-quality than congregate shelters, but are also scarce and take longer to build from scratch.
"What we want to target, what we want to really focus on, is transitional housing," Batista said this week. "We want to put all our efforts into [that and] permanent-supportive housing instead of putting our efforts into congregate shelters."
The shelter bed deficit is the product of a policy decision! It is not a “perfect storm” at all. It was by design. But Batista’s comments must be considered in context. At the time, a debate was roiling over the Blessed Sacrament temporary shelter on Pleasant Street, which closed in March. Per the Patch:
But the shelter also posed a political problem for city leaders. Neighbors and business owners near the church complained of issues related to the influx of shelter residents. Batista, Mayor Joseph Petty, police leaders, District 5 Councilor Etel Haxhiaj and Open Sky leaders held multiple community meetings to hear from neighbors. Some meetings grew heated, with neighbors saying they saw an increase in litter, loitering and drug use. A shelter resident who was kicked out for being unruly entered a person’s yard next door and punched the homeowner.
It’s no surprise Batista would want to quickly change the subject when Castiel suggested the problem wasn’t money but willingness. It’s no surprise they were hesitant to announce the location of this emergency shelter.
The obvious failure of our city to provide adequate winter shelter is, fundamentally, a product of the administration’s perceived need to capitulate to the crank reactionaries. The “homeowners” who show up and loudly protest any proposal to help the unhoused on the grounds it takes place somewhere they can see it.
The people experiencing homelessness are not considered a constituency, despite being most directly affected by the administration’s actions. However, the people who demand any cruelty necessary to avoid personally witnessing the existence of unhoused people in their community... that’s a constituency. The city’s hands are not tied by the constraint of available resources so much as the available sentiment that unhoused people are people. The grim reality that people in our city will likely be turned away from over-full shelters on the worst nights of this upcoming winter—forced, with no alternative, to roll the dice on whether they wake up—is not a concern that takes precedence over the “negative impact” on the “quality of life” of “the neighborhood.”
When an unhoused person dies in a tent it doesn’t make the news, but “neighborhood opposition” to a proposed shelter does. So long as we don’t have to see it, it’s not a problem.
For most of the past year, the conversation was dominated by what not to do.
The new RMV shelter announced yesterday is welcome news, but it isn’t cause for celebration. We need more shelter capacity and we needed it yesterday. Beneath the surface of the statements and council meetings and general political chatter on this issue is a question: not whether we can respond adequately, but whether we will.
That brings us back to the headline of today’s piece: “The bureaucratic machinery mirrors popular belief.” It’s from Homelessness is a Housing Problem. Here’s the context:
Locally speaking, homelessness dollars are human services dollars, because homelessness is, by implication, a human problem. The bureaucratic machinery mirrors popular belief. But if homelessness is indeed a housing problem, as we argue here, this organizational paradigm would suggest a policy lens entirely out of focus. It would also further suggest that shifting public attitudes on and understandings of homelessness are fundamental to the housing solutions we’re after. To move from a place of iterative improvement to true systems change, we argue the country requires a reorientation in the manner it conceptualizes (and accordingly approaches the problem in the first place. If homelessness continues to be seen exclusively as a personal problem—and not one of structure—policy prescriptions will remain reactive in nature. If we want to do more than treat the symptom, we must come to understand the necessity of a coordinated housing response.
Adding marginal shelter capacity during the winter then taking it away in the summer is a reactive solution. Even if we were to add the 220 beds we need, it would still be reactive. We need to do more.
At that Nov. 14 meeting, councilors King and Haxhiaj pushed for more. King requested the city administration put together a comprehensive strategic plan. Haxhiaj proposed solutions that are far outside the local Overton window. She said we should use bond money (loans, like the Polar Park construction loans) to add funding for a more robust response. The city uses bond money to fix streets, she said. “Why can’t we use bond money to amplify all this stuff that needs to happen in the community?” Echoing the above passage from Homelessness is a Housing Solution, she called for an examination of the division between “human services” work and “housing” work. In City Hall, they’re separate departments, and homelessness work falls under “human services” almost exclusively. King, for his part, said human services is dramatically underfunded and called for more money and positions in that department. Haxhiaj called for a reimagining—a “comprehensive strategy” between housing and human services with money attached to do something real.
All of these proposals are reasonable, sensible and necessary. But in the political arena of our fair city, they’re entirely radical and the people proposing them are “divisive.” The people like Petty, on the other hand, who chalk the problem up to a “perfect storm” and content themselves to pat the city administration on the back for trying—those people are in control. Those people define our political will, and reflexively push back on anything outside the confines of that will.
In that light, it’s useful to take a look at the way Kate Toomey approached the issue at that Nov. 14 meeting. She opened, like any good narcissist, by talking about herself and the work she does at the Sheriff’s Department (groan) “trying to assist incarcerated individuals who have plans for release and those who have been previously incarcerated trying to assist them finding housing.”
“These are people who are trying to right their life, and we’re trying to help them to reduce recidivism, and it's so difficult because we’re taking very vulnerable people and putting them back in a situation.”
Most generously, this can be read as the comments of a person who cares about these “vulnerable people” (though the mention of recidivism rates could inspire a different reading.) Even in acknowledging the situation, Toomey didn’t call for bold action. A member of the crank contingent, she’s opposed to a moratorium on encampment sweeps and would surely oppose anything more ambitious than that. Instead, she merely pointed to the number of empty buildings in the city, and asked a city official if there are any incentives for landlords to take on unhoused people. No motion, no proposal, just a question centering the needs of landlords for recompense.
“I’m grateful for the efforts but I think we can all agree that we need to do a lot more.”
But what’s the “more”? And would Toomey et al. support that “more” if and when it’s actually in front of them? Doubtful.
In a recent Boston Globe op-ed titled “For some families, the right to shelter isn’t a right at all”—a surprisingly good one given the way the Globe usually approaches homelessness—Yvonne Abraham concluded a laundry list of the failures of the state’s shelter system with this line:
That is a choice, not an act of nature. And we can choose to change it.
In Vienna, a whopping 80 percent of residents qualify for public housing, and once you have a contract, it never expires, even if you get richer. Housing experts believe that this approach leads to greater economic diversity within public housing — and better outcomes for the people living in it.
In Worcester, we’ve settled for policy that operates around another percentage point. Not 80 percent of residents, but residents who earn 80 percent of the annual median income. Under the city’s inclusionary zoning policy, developers of some types of housing are lightly prodded to provide a small amount of units affordable to households that earn 20 percent less than a fundamentally arbitrary median figure. A paltry concession to people who barely need the help, adjusted so as to not inconvenience developers. And it’s billed as a progressive and proactive response.
As that short example of the work in Vienna shows us, we are so far away from even taking seriously the kind of work that would substantively help our city and the most vulnerable people in it.
The bureaucratic machinery mirrors popular belief. The popular belief around here amounts to band-aids on an axe wound and we’re stuck arguing about whether the band-aid is too big as the hemorrhaging continues.
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Couple more quick things...
Meanwhile on Mill Street
The talk of the town lately has not been the dire lack of emergency shelter but rather the fucking bike lanes still. Janice Harvey comes in with a hot take about how it’s difficult to not ram your vehicle into a parked vehicle in a recent Worcester Magazine post.
Personally I’d settle for a columnist who isn’t measuring every change against the 1990s when it was “their time.”
This Mill Street change is innocuous and totally in line with best practices that non-backward cities have been implementing for years and years. But in the stoic tradition of Worcester politicos, Harvey perceives the change as some unknowable enigma:
I can’t say that I’ve ever seen hordes of bike riders on Mill Street. I’ve asked people who regularly travel the road and none of those polled recalled navigating around bicycles more than once or twice; some said never. Cyclists are now “protected” by reducing the lanes from two to one and creating parking spaces and a bike route where once there was a right lane. Complaints I’m hearing aren’t really so much about the need for a bike lane, but that drivers have experienced the jarring realization that the car in the right lane isn’t moving. It’s parked.
Parked cars! Be afraid! There would be nothing to say about this Mill Street change if it weren’t for the know-nothing townie backlash. So long as we’re made to confront it, we need to call it what it is. The Mill Street story is not a story about a road, it’s a story about townie cranks finding something to be mad about.
Welp, the WooSox are going the way of the Telegram and Gazette! First, John Henry promised to find a “local owner” before selling the paper to a vulture capital firm which has subsequently gutted it beyond recognition, and now Larry Lucchino is doing the same thing to the WooSox, selling the team for a clean 70 million to an equity firm consolidating minor league teams named Diamond Baseball Holdings.
From the Boston Globe:
A price tag on the transaction is not known, although an industry source earlier this month suggested that the franchise could sell for approximately $70 million.
Lucchino and the other partners bought the franchise for approximately $25 million in 2015. Prior to the move to Worcester, the franchise played in Pawtucket from 1973 through 2020. The Lucchino-led ownership group originally hoped to keep the team in Rhode Island, but no deal could be reached. The franchise moved to Worcester when Polar Park, which cost $159 million, opened its doors in 2021.
Man oh man did Larry Lucchino rinse Ed Augustus. While Lucchino nearly tripled his investment and cashed out, we’re stuck with the bill for the most expensive minor league ballpark in history, which cannot accommodate live music and doesn’t hold community events, for which we will be paying back loans for the next three decades with less and less expectation that the park will “pay for itself.” Great!
Ok, that’s a good place to leave it for today. Talk soon!
One more thing actually.