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February 27, 2023

WHA proposes Economic Opportunity Center near Great Brook Valley

Photo | Courtesy of Worcester Planning Board, Rendering: Helene Karl Architects, Inc. of Groton. Proposed Economic Opportunity Center on Tacoma St. in Worcester
Photo | Google Maps Worcester Housing Authority facility at 67 Tacoma St.

As it begins to take a more active role in providing housing opportunities in the city, the Worcester Housing Authority is planning to build an Economic Opportunity Center filled with services for residents near its Great Brook Valley development.

WHA has proposed a 31,000-square-foot Economic Opportunity Center at 67 & 69 Tacoma St. in Worcester, according to documents filed with the Worcester Planning board. The center will include property management offices, self-sufficiency programs for residents, a resident service office, a childcare center, and a computer lab, which will offer training and workshops. The Worcester Public Library’s Great Brook Valley branch will relocate to the proposed building.

The project is part of a number of initiatives supported by a 2020 award of $10 million to the WHA by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s Gateway Cities Neighborhood Revitalization Program, according to a 2020 release from the WHA.

Two existing buildings, owned by the WHA, will be demolished to make way for the new building. 

The proposal will be heard by the planning board at its March 15 meeting.

WHA CEO Alex Corrales told WBJ in November the organization would be taking a more active role in property development, rather than only managing its current holdings.

The authority is redeveloping the Curtis Apartments and has issued a request for proposals to redevelop its Lakeside Apartments. 

In July, the WHA purchased the former location of Sun ’N’ Sound in Webster Square to use as maintenance facilities and property management offices for the neighboring Webster Square Towers.

In August, the WHA broke ground on a 24-unit residential building, called A Place to Live, aimed at housing members of Worcester’s homeless population.

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February 28, 2023

I applaud the idea, but the majority of people who could take advantage of this are miles away and require public transportation. Housing authorities were not developed for these type of undertakings. Although there will be some success stories, there are better entities who would produce a higher success rate for the same amount of money.

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