June 6th, 2010 by PaulM
In 1996, an illustrated article on the front page of the SUN followed by a community planning workshop involving more than 150 people at Lowell High School brought the concept of a greener Lowell to the front of the city’s brain. The gathering was called the Project Anthopolis Charrette—anthopolis is a neologism that means “flowering city.” The late Peter Stamas coined the term. The purpose of the project was to move Lowell beyond a bricks-and-mortar revitalization, which was well along the way to fulfillment, to a sustainable community development initiative rooted in the distinctive natural and cultural heritage resources of Lowell—those assets that could be cultivated in every sense by the community for all their value. A lavishly illustrated report and plan for achieving the Flowering City vision was produced in 1997 by the Human Services Corp. of Lowell. A few years later, George Duncan of Enterprise Bank raised the Flowering City logo in the Back Central neighborhood with a permanent sign over a new branch bank on Gorham Street.
Thanks to the community workshop and plan that emerged from it, but mostly due to the natural inclinations of Lowell people, organizations, and businesses, the city’s “greenways, blueways, environmental-ways, and thematic/cultural gardens” have flourished over the past 14 years. Think of all the progress that’s been made, from Canalway path expansion and Whistler Park on Worthen Street to the Concord River Greenway and Enterprise Bank gardens around the city.
Let us know what’s happening in your neighborhood, at your business, or in your yard. At my home we’ve got great color with various marigolds, white geraniums, the mountain laurel bush just going past bloom, purple salvia, red-white-and-pink dianthus, and more. The one old grape vine is doing its best to weave itself through the arbor. (If you want to see grape vines, walk through Back Central or “the garden district,” as I call it.)
The Flowering City Project website isn’t live on the web these days, so I’ll check into the status. The report and plan should be available online.