Councilor Corey Belanger released the following statement yesterday on the Lowell High site decision. He gave me permission to post it here:
From City Councilor Corey Belanger:
My statement to the citizens of Lowell regarding the location of Lowell High School
First and foremost, I wish Councilor Samaras a quick and complete recovery. Councilor Samaras is not only a colleague, but a trusted friend. His health is very much on my mind and I’m sure he will be back in the very near future. I will not vote tonight on the location of a new Lowell High School without the full Council present. Although I am fully prepared to do so, a vote of this importance should have the full body present to be heard, voice their opinion, and to make their decision for what is in the best interest for Lowell.
The past few months have been the most demanding in my time as a Lowell City Councilor. I take my responsibility as a Councilor with the upmost respect and integrity. I pride myself on studying all information and doing every bit of research needed to make not only a decision of the magnitude of where to place a new Lowell High School, but that of every decision that affects the citizens of Lowell.
In this process, I have spoken to residents, walked neighborhoods, met with Downtown business owners, have read and reread over four thousand pages of studies, impacts, schematics and costs associated with each of the options presented of where the high school could be built. I have even gone out of my way and brought forward other possible locations to where I thought a new Lowell High School could be built as well as propose a ballot referendum.
All candidates for any municipal office run under the issues of public safety, education, and economic development. I have tirelessly campaigned on these issues as well, with a special emphasis in regards to continued need for increased economic development and revenue into the city. I have thoroughly vetted and carefully thought about all the proposed options. The decision around where to locate a new Lowell high school also represents a chance to increase economic revenue which will lead to maintaining and in the future lowering the tax burden of Lowell residents. An entirely brand new building for our children and the ability to turn around the current high school site into a tax producing entity is an enticing option for me to consider.
After careful and serious consideration for all options, I will be voting for option five at the Cawley site. In choosing building brand new at Cawley, I believe that students both presently and in the future, will have the optimum chance to best learn. That, combined with the opportunity to turn around the Downtown into a revenue producing stream is what is best for the city. I would like to thank every citizen of Lowell who took the time to reach out and express their opinion. I look forward to working with all citizens in making Lowell what we all know it can be, the premier urban city in Massachusetts.
City Councilor Corey Belanger