By Paula Ebben

WORCESTER (CBS) – The landscape of Worcester is looking a lot different these days. And it’s not just the Canal District.

Assistant Chief Development Officer Steve Rolle says the city just launched its next big project, “Worcester Now/Next is a citywide, long-range plan that’s intended to be a document that looks at the long-term development of the city.”

Officials say they want the public’s input on what the city should do next.

“And rather than have a meeting at City Hall, we’re going to take that workshop on the road,” Rolle tells WBZ. “And we are going to go to various neighborhoods in the city and meet with folks and engage with them.”

Over the next year and a half, city leaders will gather feedback on topics like transportation, housing, environment and land use.

Changes to the city have been plentiful over the past few years.

Polar Park has given life to the Canal District, along with the Worcester Marketplace, a plethora of shops and improvements to the infamous Kelley Square intersection.

“People are excited to have the Woo Sox in town,” Rolle explains. “It’s been exciting to go a few miles to go to a game instead of all the way into Boston.”

Another area seeing a lot of growth: the downtown.

A new restaurant called “The Mercantile” just opened with rooftop seating and two bars.

Bethany Rioux, the marketing manager for the Broadway Hospitality Group behind the restaurant, says the downtown is an exciting place to be. “I think that this is just as much of an up-and-coming area with new residences over on Front Street and the DCU Center so close by.”

Rioux the company is really happy to be part of the community. “Two bars, two floors, two kitchens – both bars can seat 50 people; we’ll also be able to accommodate for events while also doing regular dining service at the same time.”

And on the east side of the city, crews are breaking ground on what Rolle calls “a game-changer”. A new biomanufacturing park called “The Reactory.”

Rolle says it will be a less expensive alternative to facilities in Cambridge.

“We think there is a market in Worcester for biomanufacturing. We’ve got a great deal of the technical aspect with WPI, UMass and the other colleges. And we also have a blue-collar workforce historically in the city. We think it’s a great marriage.”

Paula Ebben