Lowell City Council Meeting: November 22, 2016

City Manager Communications to Council

Report on Western Ave ($6mil for a pedestrian crossing) – Councilor Leahy says he is interested in opening Western Ave up to vehicular traffic from Thorndike Street to Western Ave with a grade crossing with crossing gates and lights. Manager Murphy says that Pan Am is being very reluctant to grant a grade crossing. He says the city will keep pushing. Hopefully at some point, Pan Am will need something from the city and we can have a more productive discussion about Western Ave.

Vote to declare 682 Lawrence St surplus property and sell through the RFP process.

Finance Subcommittee Report – By Councilor Elliott. Purpose was to discuss proposed new high school and its financing. Original estimates from 2010 said a $250mil project but new estimates range from $230mil to $300mil or more. The $231mil is just to improve conditions of existing high school to minimum standards. The process will continue so the committee will revisit this issue as more information becomes available. Will have to decide what is affordable. Councilor Leary says in March the consultant will make recommendations as to a site and the city will have to make decisions about the cost. Says this is going to happen very quickly.

Public Hearings

Create new grant funded position Substance Abuse Coordinator and establish salary in the Health and Human Services Department.

Generation Citizens Program at Lowell High School address the council regarding lighting in downtown. (The objective of the program is to enact positive government change). Students see lack of consistent lighting in downtown at night is a safety issue. Councilors all congratulate students for their activism. Matter is referred to the Youth Services Subcommittee.


By Councilor Mercier, request City Manager find ways and means to illuminate the cross walk on Broadway Street in front of Senior Center with possibly reflectors or a solar light for vehicular and pedestrian safety.

By Councilor Rourke, request City Manager establish an E-Commerce position at the LPD to provide a safe location for legal E-Commerce transactions.

By Councilor Samaras, request City Manager invite members of Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust to update Council on the Concord River Greenway and its connections to other trails. He amends motion to have the presentation be given to the Economic Development Committee.

By Councilor Leary, request City Manager invite Lowell Telecommunications Corp’s new director, Wendy Blom, to present before the City Council regarding LTC’s current objectives and new initiatives for 2017.

By Councilor Leahy, request City Manager have DPD provide a report on Franklin Park development with Habitat for Humanity.

By Councilor Leahy, request City Manager have Parks Dept repair fence on Moody Street near St. Joseph’s.

By Councilors Leahy and Rourke, request City Manager explore possibility of reducing speed limits throughout the City, especially in densely populated areas, in accordance with the Innovative Cities Grant.

Councilor Elliott asks to suspend the rules to discuss recent homicide at Westminster Village apartments in Pawtucketville. He is critical of management of the apartment complex. Says it is owned by an absentee landlord. Says all who live there receive Section 8 housing. The police have responded there hundreds of times. Urges city to take stronger measures to get this place straightened out. Councilor Belanger occurs. He says property owner only cares “about the government money that gets electronically deposited in its account every month.” Manager Murphy says he and the police chief are meeting with the management company. He’ll return a report to the council. Councilor Rourke says he has spoken with residents of the complex who say that any staff that get hired soon quit under pressure by a small segment of the people who live there.

Manager Murphy announces that City Hall will close at 2 pm tomorrow (for Thanksgiving).

Meeting adjourns at 7:42 pm.