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Session Law

2012

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Chapter 203 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CONVEYANCE, LEASE AND CHANGE OF USE OF CERTAIN PARK LANDS IN THE CITY OF WORCESTER.

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to authorize forthwith the conveyance, lease and change of use of certain park lands in the city of Worcester, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. The city of Worcester may convey by sale the former fire alarm building located within Elm park at 230 Park avenue, and may lease up to 3.0 acres of land surrounding the building to Spencer Savings Bank, or its sole designee, for the purpose of renovating the building in its current footprint and structure, and any additions and supporting spaces due to the grade characteristic requirements of the architectural access board and the Americans With Disabilities’ Act, to historic preservation standards acceptable to the city manager for use as a retail branch of the bank and for the construction of an independent structure for a remote teller and automated teller machine; provided, however, that these structures shall be renovated or constructed in conformance with historic preservation standards acceptable to the city manager for use as a retail branch of the bank. The city of Worcester constructed and maintained the 6,735 square foot fire alarm station building in Elm Park along Park avenue near the Elm street intersection under the authority of chapter 574 of the acts of 1914, and such building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, as renovated, shall house a community meeting room to be managed by Preservation Worcester, a nonprofit collaboration organized for the preservation of historic buildings and places within the city of Worcester. The community meeting room and related amenities shall consist of at least 51 per cent of the entire first floor of the building. The 3.0 acre lease shall include at least 6 spaces dedicated for the sole purpose of parking for Elm Park users and the community room and the remaining parking spaces shall be available to users of Elm Park and the community room after bank hours.
The lease to the bank shall be for an initial term of 70 years, with the option for 3, 10-year extensions to be exercised at the option of the bank no sooner than 5 years prior to expiration of the original or any extended term of the lease. Such lease shall include the following conditions: (i) that the property shall revert to park land should the building ever be demolished; and (ii) that the authority granted by this act shall expire and the lease shall terminate unless renovations to the building are commenced within 3 years from the effective date of this act and constructed to a conclusion within a commercially reasonable time thereafter. Such lease shall further provide that, in the event that the bank shall cease operations in the building for any 12 consecutive months, the lease shall terminate and the property shall revert to park land without any further action by the city, the city council or the general court; provided, however, that the city shall file a notice of lease termination and reversion to park land and such notice shall be recorded in the Worcester district registry of deeds.
In the event that Preservation Worcester shall cease to operate or exist, the bank shall attempt to find another not-for-profit acceptable to the city with a mission of parks, open space, recreation and preservation to use and manage the community room for the remainder of the lease term. A conveyance under this section shall be subject to paragraphs (a), (b) and (g) of section 16 of chapter 30B of the General Laws.

SECTION 2. The city of Worcester may enter into leases for the construction and use of communications technology on an area of land containing approximately 2,500 square feet within Elm Park located at the summit of Newton Hill. The city may, in conjunction with such leases, also grant any necessary utility easements through Elm Park to Newton Hill to support such use. The summit on Newton Hill shall continue to be the historic location of a certain flag pole. The income from the leases authorized in this section shall be dedicated to the management and improvement of Elm Park.

SECTION 3. In consideration of the conveyance and leases set forth in sections 1 and 2, and in recognition that Doherty high school is located within Elm Park under the authority granted by chapter 121 of the acts of 1960, the city of Worcester hereby declares that should the city and the Worcester public schools determine that such property is no longer needed for Worcester public schools purposes, the authority granted by said chapter 121 shall expire and the land previously transferred from park land to school land shall revert to park land upon said determination.

SECTION 4. Notwithstanding chapter 267 of the acts of 1950, the city of Worcester may change the use of an additional portion of Green Hill Park containing approximately 36,060 square feet, adjacent to the 34,550 square foot area dedicated to water supply purposes under said chapter 267, for the maintenance of 2 water supply system tanks and the installation and maintenance of public safety and emergency communications towers, stations and facilities; provided, however, that the city may grant any necessary easements and leases to construct and support such telecommunications technology in, around, to and from the current water supply system tanks, mains and public safety radio transmission towers.

SECTION 5. In conjunction with the reconstruction of Belmont street, the city of Worcester may construct a new bus stop shelter on such portion of Green Hill park that abuts Belmont street near the intersection of Skyline drive. The city shall grant a temporary easement of approximately 1,545 square feet within Green Hill Park to allow for the construction of the bus stop shelter and a permanent easement of approximately 1,272 square feet within the park for public use of the shelter upon its completion. The city shall place such bus shelter under the care, custody and control of the city commissioner of public works and parks for street purposes.

SECTION 6. In consideration for and as a condition of the conveyances, changes of use and leases authorized in sections 1, 2, 4 and 5, the city of Worcester, individually or together with the Greater Worcester Land Trust, shall record a permanent conservation restriction meeting the requirements of sections 32 and 33 of chapter 184 of the General Laws over approximately 4.6 acres of land along Plantation parkway and adjacent to Green Hill Park currently owned by the commonwealth under the care and control of the University of Massachusetts and formerly of the Worcester Business Development Corporation and being a triangle in the westernmost section of Worcester assessor’s Parcel 57-004-00A-2 and described in a plan on file with the city of Worcester department of public works and parks, and in furtherance of the purposes of this provision, the University of Massachusetts, any of its entities, and any other state department, agency or entity involved, shall have any authority under this act which is necessary and proper to approve and grant such permanent conservation restriction over the property described in this section.

SECTION 7. The city of Worcester shall prepare and record in the Worcester district registry of deeds the plans of land describing the precise boundaries of the parcels of land altered pursuant to this act.

Approved, August 3, 2012.


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