Updated February 2011
The Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee (WFFM) began working in late 2001 on the development of a permanent/public memorial to honor Worcester firefighters Paul Brotherton, Timothy Jackson, Jeremiah Lucey, James, “Jay” Lyons, Joseph McGuirk and Lt. Thomas Spencer. WFFM was formed to select the site of the memorial, to establish a process for community participation and awareness in the design and development of the memorial and to raise funds for the memorial’s design, construction and maintenance.
WFFM has been working closely with the City of Worcester in developing and implementing an Integrated Master Plan for the 8.9 acre site of the proposed Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial at 141 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts—including the following:
- Identifying and correcting critical environmental issues and concerns at Salisbury Pond/Institute Park.
- Transferring 5(+) acres of land from 141 Grove Street back to Institute Park.
- Reducing the cost of the Worcester Fire Fighters Primary Memorial Structure from $1.2 million dollars to $825,000.00 dollars.
- In conjunction with the City of Worcester, raising $3.8 million dollars in State funds to implement the Central Massachusetts Emergency Access Road & Bridge Project, an important part of the WFFM Integrated Master Plan at the 141 Grove Street site.
WFFM was the recipient of an Order from the City Council of Worcester on November 18, 2003, granting the responsibility, in conjunction with the Worcester Fire Department, to create an 8.9 acre Integrated Master Plan at 141 Grove Street, Worcester Massachusetts for the development of a permanent/public Memorial to honor the six firefighters who died in Worcester, Massachusetts in the line of duty on December 3, 1999.
Pursuant to a Trust Agreement with the City of Worcester dated January, 2004, WFFM conducted a national design competition for the design of the permanent/public Memorial which included a site master plan that served as the basis for the development of the overall WFFM Integrated Master Plan. Gala Simon Associates of Lexington, Ma., were the selected winners of the Worcester Fire Fighters National Design Competition and they are responsible for developing the first preliminary master plan framework for the 141 Grove Street site.
WFFM prepared an Integrated Master Plan for the 8.9 acre site at 141 Grove Street which was approved by the City of Worcester and its Conservation Commission in September, 2005. The WFFM Integrated Master Plan develops and maps the strategy for solving and improving critical environmental and complex public safety and other planning issues at the 141 Grove Street site including the implementation of the Central Massachusetts Emergency Access Road & Bridge Project as part of the integrated master plan. The WFFM Integrated Master Plan addresses all major components of the 141 Grove Street site: (1) the Philip E. O’Connell Athletic Field, (2) the Worcester Fire Headquarters building, burn training structure, parking area and new access points and access road, (3) the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial & Park, (4) the Leary/EMC Training building, and, (5) the Salisbury Pond/Institute Park-pedestrian bridge. The WFFM Integrated Master Plan also includes planning strategies for the siting of other built memorials for past Worcester firefighters who have died in the line of duty and any Worcester firefighters who may perish in the line of duty in the future. All of these important elements have been included in the overall WFFM Integrated Master Plan for 141 Grove Street. WFFM has spent in excess of $550,000.00 in the development and implementation of the WFFM Integrated Master Plan, to date.
On December 11, 2007, the Worcester City Council voted to include the 8.9 acre WFFM Integrated Master Plan at 141 Grove street site as part of the Grand Master Plan for the revitalization of Institute Park.
Working closely with the City of Worcester, WFFM developed the Central Massachusetts Emergency Access Road & Bridge proposal for submission to the Massachusetts Legislature to be part of the 2008 Transportation Bond Bill. On July 31, 2008, The Massachusetts House and Senate voted the approval of the 2008 Transportation Bond Bill which included $3.8 million dollars in funding for the Central Massachusetts Emergency Access Road & Bridge Project, 141 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. On August 8, 2008, Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick signed the Transportation Bond Bill that provided $3.8 million dollars in funding for the implementation of a portion the WFFM Integrated Master Plan at 141 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Working closely with the City of Worcester, Department of Public Works and Parks, WFFM prepared a formal proposal in seeking $2.62 million in federal funds for the revitalization and rehabilitation of the Philip E. O’Connell Athletic Field. Like the Central Massachusetts Emergency Access Road & Bridge Project, this proposal follows the intent and direction of the WFFM Integrated Master Plan by developing a seamless design and development approach for and within the 8.9 acre Grove Street site. This proposal follows the direction of the WFFM Integrated Master Plan thereby continuing to insure the implementation of (1) inspired design, (2) sound environmental objectives and specifications, (3) methodical development/construction techniques and (4) dedicated maintenance procedures to all components of the site and its immediate environs and beyond.
Aerial photo, Philip E. O'Connell athletic field showing Worcester Fire Headquarters & Burn Training Buildings, located at 141 Grove Street, adjacent to Salisbury Pond (photo: Design Development Services, Boston, Ma., 2002)
Looking south across the Philip E. O’Connell Athletic Field with Grove Street on the left and Worcester Fire Headquarters Center, Burn Building Structures in red. (photo: Design Development Services, Boston, Ma., 2002)
WFFM concluded the second and final phase of the Primary Memorial Height Analysis with the recommendation that the final height of the Primary Memorial Structure be 21 feet thereby helping to reduce the cost of the Primary Memorial to $825,000.00. The two-phase height analysis was conducted in winter and summer seasons with special attention to existing and potential views, vistas, view corridors, visual site impediments and other physical and visual factors that might impact how visitors and users of Institute Park will see the Primary Memorial from various locations on Grove Street and within and around Salisbury Pond. Gala Simon Associates, LLC (Winners of the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial National Design Competition) of Lexington, Massachusetts conducted an analysis of the costs for the Primary Memorial based on the new height recommendation and new state-of-the-art construction techniques and innovative and more durable construction materials--while still maintaining the visual integrity and construction quality of the Primary Memorial Structure. The new construction cost of $825,000.00 reduced the cost of the Primary Memorial by 31% (+/-).
In July, 2010, the first $1 million dollars of the $3.8 million dollars allocated for the Central Massachusetts Emergency Access Road & Bridge Project was provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the City of Worcester. Construction was started at the 141 Grove Street Site and it is anticipated that the remaining $2.8 million dollars will be allocated for construction completion by 2012.
WFFM in conjunction with the City of Worcester’s Department of Public Works and Parks has mapped the boundaries of the 8.9 acres of land at the 141 Grove Street site and determined that 5(+) acres could be transferred back to Institute Park. Originally the 8.9 acre Grove Street site was owned by the Worcester Art Museum and part of Institute Park. In 1911 the Worcester Art Museum deeded the land to the City of Worcester. In 1954, the City of Worcester obtained authority to transfer the land area from Institute Park to the Worcester Fire Department pursuant to special legislation, Chapter 125 of the Acts of 1954. In the 1950’s the City built a fire station and training ground within the 8.9 acre location. The property came under severe pressure from new development proposals and WFFM protected the land by proposing to keep and retain the Philip E. O’Connell Athletic Field as part of the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Project. By doing so, a substantial portion of the 141 Grove Street land as defined in the WFFM Integrated Master Plan will be transferred back to Institute Park after more than fifty years, thereby protecting the land forever from future development. All of this has been made possible by the November 18, 2003, Order of the City Council and the Trust Agreement between WFFM, Inc., and the City of Worcester. WFFM’s mission to memorialize the six firefighter heroes who lost their lives trying to save the lives of others on December 3, 1999, played an important role in protecting the integrity of the various uses at this important site.
WFFM is presently conducting a feasibility study to determine the framework of raising the remaining $825,000.00 for the Primary Memorial structure. In addition, WFFM continues to oversee the implementation of the WFFM Integrated Master Planat 141 Grove Street where construction has started at the Worcester Fire Department.
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