Lowell Week in Review: August 19, 2018

Boat race teams at SEA Water Festival

Southeast Asian Water Festival

The 22nd Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival took place on the north bank of the Merrimack River yesterday. Despite two episodes of heavy rain, the festival attracted a big crowd and provided an amazing celebration of the food, music, dance and culture of the countries of Southeast Asia.

One of the highlights of the festival is the boat races which attracted ten teams this year. The winner was perennial champion New England Top Gun (in blue shirts in above photos).

The Southeast Asian Water Festival takes place on the third Saturday of August each year. Mark your 2019 calendar today.

The Solarize Mass Lowell team at SEA Water Festival

Solarize Mass Lowell open for business

The city of Lowell was recently selected to participate in the Solarize Mass Plus Program. The Solarize Mass program was launched by the state back in 2011 to help make small-scale solar systems affordable and easy to install for residents. Since then, the program has been rolled out in small batches of communities. Lowell was selected to participate in this round. The “Plus” part of the program involves an option to install an air-source heat pump which is an efficient way to heat and cool buildings in climates such as ours, particularly buildings that use oil or electric for their current means of heat generation.

The Solarize Mass Plus program provides a discounted pricing structure to residents for the purchase of rooftop solar units and provides a single approved installer who is accountable to the Lowell program.

For more information about this program, check out the Solarize Lowell website.

Open Space and Recreation Meeting at Lowell Senior Center

Open Space and Recreation Plan

This past Monday, several dozen people met at the Lowell Senior Center to participate in the third public meeting on the city’s draft five-year Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP). This plan will serve two purposes: It will give the city access to state funds to help maintain and create recreational and open space within the city. It will (should?) guide policy decisions by the city council and city administration on the allocation of city resources for these same purposes. To be official, the final plan must be approved by the City Council, the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission.

Commendably, the city has sought the input of residents in the formulation of this plan. Organized by the Department of Planning and Development, the first public meeting was held on January 24, 2018 and the second was held on May 17, 2018. In addition, DPD Staffers attended several neighborhood meetings and conducted an online survey (which closed out last week).

Monday night, meeting attendees discussed ten possible priorities of effort that had been identified at prior meetings. Here are the 10 “action items” that were rated:

  • Cleanup/Maintenance
  • Crosswalks/Sidewalks
  • Better Lighting
  • More trees
  • Water-Based Recreation
  • Clearer Signage
  • Events Beyond Downtown
  • Dog Parks
  • Activities for Teens/Kids
  • Bike Lanes

DPD staffers will take the input from Monday’s meeting and commence drafting the OSRP. There will be public hearings and presentations in the future at dates to be determined. Eventually, the city council and the two other boards will vote on whether to adopt the plan.

City Council Notes

Thanks once again to Mimi Parseghian for reporting on Tuesday’s Lowell City Council meeting. Mimi’s notes came in two parts with the first posted on Wednesday and the second posted yesterday.

The Lowell Quarter

Lowell Quarter

Earlier this week the United States Mint unveiled the design of the upcoming Lowell Quarter which will feature one of Lowell’s mill girls tending a power loom in one of the city’s textile mills. This quarter, which honors Lowell National Historical Park, will be released at a launch event hosted by the US Mint and the National Park Service in February 2019.

My reelection campaign continues! There are many ways you can help.