By George DeLuca
June 20, 2017
The following is my speech advocating for the “ideal educational environment” for the students, and, a viable economic development plan to revitalize downtown Lowell:
“You’ll notice that the signs ‘LHS Yes for Cawley’ don’t identify the bearers as parents of children affected by the decision you’re about to make tonight. But that’s who they are … they’re the parents of the affected children and their supporters. I’m one of those supporters. But I’m here tonight to speak to a broader range of issues.
We need a new high school in Lowell and we need a solid vision for economic development. Moving the high school to the Cawley site will allow the city to achieve both objectives, while clearing a major logjam that prevents economic growth.
UMass Lowell abuts the high school at the Tsongas Center. On the other side of the high school is downtown proper, Merrimack St. and Market St. On the other side of downtown proper is the Hamilton Canal Innovation District. These four segments of downtown are shielded from each other and do not interconnect or help each other in any significant way. In effect, they’re isolated operations that stagnate growth in downtown Lowell.
To improve flow and circulation, extract the high school operation from the downtown, and relocate it to the Cawley site. Then expand the Hamilton Canal Innovation District to include the vacated high school property.
UMass Lowell will then have a physical connection to the Hamilton Canal Innovation District at Arcand Drive, facilitating the creation of one unified concept for downtown and solving the incompatibility problem.
This operation will permit a natural flow between UMass Lowell and the expanded enterprise zone that will extend to and include downtown proper via Lucy Larcom Park and then along the Merrimack Canal to Hamilton Canal.
This new flow pattern will lead to the revitalization of the entire downtown, while offering new and expanded amenities for all to enjoy, as we render support for incubating business enterprises and make room for their spin-off manufacturing operations.
I believe the high school should be built at Cawley so downtown Lowell can enter a phase of revitalization and deliver a renewed vitality not experienced in the mill city since the 1960s.
This dynamic change will lead to rising property values across the city, growth of the tax base, and the creation of jobs made possible by the education and training programs offered by MCC and UML. Downtown growth and the proposed revitalization will benefit the entire city.
The new high school at Cawley and the expanded Hamilton Canal Innovation District will fuel these advances and help make Lowell a desired community for workers, visitors, students, residents and business owners.
The high school must be moved to provide the “ideal educational environment” for the students, and, the opportunity to revitalize downtown fueled by an expanded Hamilton Canal Innovation District including the vacated high school property.
We need a new high school. But we also need economic development, rising property values, and a flourishing tax base which will only be possible if we move the high school, expand the Hamilton Canal Innovation District and revitalize downtown.
We have an opportunity to unify the city and we need your leadership to make this happen. Make this decision the beginning of an exciting new era for ALL Lowellians. Thank you.”