Lowell Roundup: April 15, 2019

I am still pitch hitting for Dick! 

The City Council is not meeting this week.  It has become standard practice to cancel the Spring School Vacation Week meeting.  Last week’s meeting featured major information on construction projects throughout the City

There was an update on the City’s Construction Projects.  The report was submitted by Christine Clancy, the City Engineer and Natasha Vance, the Transportation Engineer.  Both women have been great additions to the Administration.  The amount of information and quick response is noticeable and appreciated.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation made a presentation at the Sub-Committee Meeting that preceded the Council meeting.  The presentation focused proposals to alter the traffic pattern that comes off the Connector onto Gorham Street.  There was considerable discussion on social media regarding this effort.  It was announced that a public meeting will be held on May 8th and most likely at the Rogers School.  The time and place will be confirmed.

The City’s website has a listing and status of the major construction projects.  The data and information on the Gorham Street/Connector project have not been updated yet.

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Municipal Campaign Season has begun.  Based on news reports and social media postings, at least three City Council incumbents have had kick-offs: Councilors Rita Mercier, John Leahy and Vesna Nuon.  Former City Councilor Marty Lorrey also began his campaign.   There are first-time candidates who are running and perhaps other former Councilors who are running.  The speculation is that at least one if not more incumbent Councilors may not run.  Of course, all this can change if the election lawsuit is not settled or resolved soon.

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One topic that will not be a campaign issue is the debate regarding the High School location.  Last week, the Massachusetts School Building Authority approved the project and funding of $210 million towards the $343 million project.  When the Council returns next week, they will vote on the budget and at a-later-date, vote on the loan order.  Perhaps there will be some contentious debates during the loan-order discussion, but I do not think there is the political appetite to relive 2017.

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Speaking of moving forward, the School Superintendent “Blue Ribbon” Search Panel, has completed the preliminary evaluations.  The number of applicants was in the 22 or 23.  I had read/heard both numbers.  Such a large number is impressive and encouraging. The interview of the finalists is scheduled to take place next week.  We may have the selection completed by May. The make-up of this Blue Ribbon panel had many new faces and more importantly it included School Committee members.

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