April 2019 Minutes

LDNA 4/22/19

7 PM, LTC

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Jack Moynihan

Sam Litvin

Meeting called to order at: 7:02.

Opening greeting

Approval of minutes

Approval of Feb and Mar 2019 minutes:  Motion made and seconded; approved.

Treasurer’s Report

               $890.29 balance in account.  Suggested donation of $10 is welcome.

Police Report

Chief Richardson:  Made a commitment to downtown; including higher visibility presence downtown.  TD Bank area is going to be redone with new benches designated for the residents nearby.

Q:  What’s up with story in the Sun about LPD officers who mis-behaved?

A:  It happened before I was chief, and I wasn’t aware of all the details when the officer in question was promoted.  Another officer involved was not promoted.

O:  Now that pot is legal, the isn’t the street pot cheaper?

A:  Yes, its becoming an issue, but we’re really focused on the fentanyl issue at the moment.

Q:  What about establishing a neighborhood watch program?

A:  Maybe down the road.  There are issues. 

Capt. Kennedy (Charlie Sector commander)

  • 4 Agg assaults.
    • 6:15 am at the shelter; arrest made.
    • 1pm at Lowell District Court; parties were known to each other; 3 arrested.
    • LHS students in a disagreement; 1 arrest made
    • Blue Shamrock; person claims they were beaten with a bat; but no witnesses.
  • 1 Burglary at Dunkin Donuts involving a scam.
  • 5 car breaks
    • 1 may have been a domestic incident.
    • 2 vehicles were left unlocked and contents were stolen.
    • 1 vehicle has windows smashed near shelter; possibly drug-seeking individual.
  • 5 disorderly
    • 1 involved a social media app.
    • 1 involved bar closing at Last Safe and Deposit
  • 2 shoplifting incidents
    • 1 was perpetrated by a shelter resident;  The resident returned the property and the store declined to press charges.
    • 1 involved stolen baby formula from CVS; most likely to be sold for drugs.

Q:  I called in a couple of disorderly issues, and police responded but why didn’t they make the list?

A:  The two issues involved emotionally disturbed people who ended up going to the hospital for medical treatment.  So those incidents don’t tend to show up on the crime report.  Police try to be compassionate and find help for people that have real issues.  It’s a real problem that there’s little to no support for these people and its left to the LPD and the ER.

Contact at tkennedy@lowellma.gov.

Management representatives from Coffee and Cotton and The Farm Market will give a brief update on upcoming events and offerings at Mill No. 5.  (Addie, GM of Coffee and Cotton; Mariah, farm Market Manager)

  • POSTPONED

Rogers Muyanja of the International Institute will give an overview of the organization’s work in Lowell, as well as speak of the upcoming 100 year anniversary observation.

  • Asylum vs refugee
  • Founded in Lowell in 1918.
  • (See attached slides)

Q:  Is there a particular group that accounts for a lot of clients?

A:  A lot of people from Afganistan and Iraq who have helped the US, are currently clients.  But the overall numbers are very low under this administration.

Q:  Do you work with Rotary clubs and other similar groups?

A:  Yes, developing these relationships is critical.  The current climate and rhetoric makes outreach especially important these days.

General Information

  • 5/8 Meeting at Rogers School to discuss possible changes to intersection at end of Lowell Connector.
  • City will talk to TD Bank about possible improvements to the area around the Drive-through at Market & Central Street.
  • LDNA will donate $100 to the Points of Light Festival.
  • No LDNA meeting in May.  Next meeting is 6/24/2019

Q:  Can we get notice of when the canals will be drained?

A:  We will follow up with city.

Q:  Can we get an update on the central Street bridge replacement?

A:  We will ask the city to come back.

Q:  Can we get update on green bike program.

A:  Yes

Meeting Adjourns at 8:45.

March 2019 Minutes

Notes from March 25, 2019 LDNA Meeting

Treasurer’s Report: Currently at $880.29

Police Report: Captain Thomas Kennedy reported that only 10 crimes were reported in the downtown over the period. He stated that additional patrol officers had been assigned. Captain Kennedy also spoke of improvements at the TD Bank area on Central  Street.  The old benches have been removed, and will be replaced with fewer benches – some of which will be the property of the building owner.  There will be further enhancements to the plaza in general, which will hopefully cut down on some of the problem behavior in the area – while still allow outdoor seating for the residents of the aprtments upstairs.  In addition, a police substation will be created across the street – in the Eastern Bank

Economic Development Update:  Maria Dickinson, Economic Development Officer, reported that the department has been focusing on new businesses – while still working with existing businesses.   She explained how all of the roadwork and the new bridge should provide new gateways to the Hamilton Canal District.  The city is interviewing for a general contractor for the Courthouse area garage, and noted that there is also some interest from a private developer in building another garage in the area.  This would be similar to the garage by Perkins Street.  Ms. Dickinson also mentioned that Winn Development will have two new buildings which will be a combination of commercial and residential units.  She also reported that the Downtown Ventures Fund had funneled $235,000 to new retail and restaurant establishments.   Among them are Warp & Weft, Purple Carrot, and Th Keep.  She also noted how the city provided a forgivable loan to help Eyeful Beauty acquire their new space.  Her office also has marketing workshops available free of charge, and Economic Development also provides grants.  Ms. Dickinson reported that two companies are either expanding in or moving to the Boot Mills complex.  She listed Big Poke, Lao de Cafe, Powerhouse Juice, Pups of Lowell, Vinaan Cafe, and Panela as new downtown businesses.  Ms. Dickinson then introduced Juan Acevedo and his sister from Panela Restaurant on Hanover Street.

February 2019 Minutes

LDNA 2/25/19

7 PM, LTC

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Jack Moynihan

Sam Litvin

Meeting called to order at: 7:01.

Opening greeting

Approval of minutes

Approval of Feb 2019 minutes:  Not posted — Postponed.

Treasurer’s Report

               $850.29 balance in account.  Suggested donation of $10 is welcome.

Police Report

Lt. Nobrega (new Charlie Sector supervisor in evening shift)

  • 5 Agg Assaults; 5 arrests.
  • 1 robbery and 1 shoplift incidents still under investigation
  • 5 disorderlies; 4 which led to arrests.

Update on progress of Athenian Corner Hotel Construction by Ted Panagiotopoulos, and Matt Hammer.

  • Very close to starting construction.  Just waiting on some final approvals and financing issues involving the federal government.
  • 12-15 months expected construction duration.
  • Rooftop bar was not approved by NPS.  But a portion of the new building will have a 6th floor that will have a large function space for up to 150 people with lots of glass and great views.
  • Parking will be provided in a city garage for up to 55 guests.  Possibly using valet parking.
  • Restaurant will have to close for some portion of the construction.  Looking to continue operation in temporary quarters elsewhere in the downtown.
  • Adjacent sidewalks will be closed for duration of construction.  But no street closures will be required.
  • Construction staging and parking is being looked at off-site.

Northern Middlesex Council of Governments (NMCOG)  representatives will present and solicit input for the next Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). (Justin Hoard, Jong Wai Tommee, Chris Curry)

  • RTP covers 20 year period.
  • Directs up to $264M in federal funding to projects in the region.
  • RTP funds over the last 4 years have paid for:
    • GPS tracking of fixed-route LRTA busses.
    • New LRTA vehicles
    • Gallagher Station improvements
    • New University Ave bridge.
  • Possible future RTP projects:
    • New Rourke bridge  (baby steps; maybe in ~ 10yrs)
    • Appleton/Gorham/Church intersection improvements
    • Appleton Street corridor “Complete Streets” improvements
  • Upcoming open-house style public meeting to take comments on the RTP at Lowell Senior Center on 3/7/2019 from 4:30 – 7:30.

General Information

               Portion of Kirk Street will be closed due to nearby roof construction.

               LDNA is entered in fundraiser Chili competition. St Anne’s 3/1/2019.  6:30 – 9:00pm.

Meeting Adjourns at 7:51.

January 2019 Minutes

LDNA 1/28/19

7 PM, LTC

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Jack Moynihan  (arrived 7:41)

Sam Litvin

Meeting called to order at: 7:04.

Opening greeting

Police Report

               Deputy Sup. Barry Golner

  • City now has 3 sectors
  • Up to 10 walking routes downtown
  • New ATV coming to downtown

Capt. Kennedy – New ‘A’ Sector Commander

  • Relatively light crime this period.

Q&A:

  • Smokehouse comes up a lot.  Is it a problem establishment?
    • It attracts a tough demographic, but things have been quieter the last year or so.
    • A lot of the problem is the crowds that congregate when bars close.  Working on a solution for the Uber/Lyft pick-up issue.
  • How much of the car vandalism happens in city garages?
    • Very little.  It was a much bigger problem years ago, but not lately.
  • What’s the status of legal tools to deal with Homeless issues?
    • District Court under Judge Fords has established a special “mental health court” where people with emotional/medical issues can be diverted for assistance to stop the revolving door of chronic petty offences.  Modeled after successful program in Cambridge.
    • City has 11 homeless encampments, and as many as 40 during warmer weather.
    • Sheriff’s office is working on a pilot program to offer more programming and services.

Discussion of pedestrian safety in Downtown Lowell

  • Dutton & Market intersection is a bad spot for pedestrians.  Many people are afraid to cross the street and have nearly been hit.  Only actual accidents are reported – not near misses!
    • Traffic engineer is now looking at reverting back to dedicated pedestrian cycle.
  • Line striping needs good weather.  Various funding sources for painting and signs, etc.
  • In the winter the lack of shoveling is a real problem on sidewalks.
  • Bicycles on sidewalks downtown are an issue.
    • Traffic engineer is working on improving bike lanes throughout city.

Approval of minutes

Approval of Oct and Nov 2018 minutes:  Approved.

Treasurer’s Report

               $705.20 balance in account.  We donated $100 to Kerouac park.

               Time for LDNA Dues.  Suggested donation is $10.

Annual election of LDNA officers

               Slate of Jack, Carolyn and Sam are reelected by unanimous vote.

Meeting Adjourns at 8:19.

November 2018 Minutes

LDNA 11/26/18

7 PM, LTC

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Jack Moynihan

Sam Litvin

Meeting called to order at: 7:02.

Opening greeting

Approval of minutes

Approval of Oct minutes postponed.

Police Report

               Capt. Sullivan – A Sector Commander

  • Parade went well this year as compared to last year.
  • Uptick in motor vehicle vandalism and break-ins.
    • Most of the trouble was at the very end of October beginning of November.  Police took notice and weeks since have been better.
    • Car breaks occur both on the street and in the garages.
    • Most garages have cameras – most are working.  Will check on the status of Roy garage cameras
  • Agg Assauts were mostly domestic; one was between acquainted parties on Market Street.
    • Mid-day assault in bell park turned into armed robbery due to stolen phone; remains unsolved.  May be related to incident in Belvidere.

Q&A:

  • Area behind lower locks is being used by drug users and as a latrine.

Special Joint Meeting with Lowell City Council Neighborhoods Subcommittee

Treasurer’s Report

               $800.29 balance in account.

Meeting Adjourns.

October 2018 Minutes

LDNA 10/22/18

7 PM, LTC

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Jack Moynihan

Sam Litvin

Meeting called to order at: 7:01.

Opening greeting

Approval of minutes

Approval of Sept minutes; Motion made and 2nd from floor; approved.

Police Report

               Capt. Sullivan – A Sector Commander

  • Was Downtown commander about 10 years ago; Since then was old east sector commander and then in charge of detective unit.
  • Recent downtown shooting was solved due to eye-witnesses and video cameras.
  • Major problems downtown:
    • 1:00 – 3:30 AM after bars close
    • Morning issues with homeless
  • Downtown high-vis patrols supported by grant funding will continue.

ksullivan@lowellma.gov

Q&A:

  • Councilor Leahy invites all residents to contact the council with any issues facing downtown.
  • Maybe we should do a downtown survey to see what everyone thinks about issues such as rolling back bar hours.
  • What is the status of City’s effort to get more latitude for dealing with homeless issues?
    • There was a meeting earlier today with Court officials.  Will report results next meeting.
  • What is the deal with pub crawls?  Is this really good for the city?
    • Police detail not paid by promoter, but there was no violence or major issues.
    • Need to coordinate with other events in the city.

Special Guest:  Lowell City Councilor and Vice-Mayor Vesna Nuon

  • Worked with Capt Sullivan for many years.
  • If council decides to do something about changing bar hours, public support/input will be crucial.

Q&A

  • Lots of lights out along canal and river walks.
  • Mayor Samaras: I’m interested in looking at overall climate in downtown:
    • after-hours drinking establishments.
    • Homeless issues and pan-handling.
    • Will work to start an open discussion about these issue with residents.
  • Some homeless issues are really mental health related.
    • It would help if shelter had daytime activities instead of dumping everyone on the street for the day.
  • What about pedestrian safety in the downtown?
    • People routinely run red lights.
    • What about red light cameras?  This would also help with gridlock.
      • Council will look into a motion to study the cost and feasibility.

Treasurer’s Report

               Deferred to November meeting.

Discussion

  • School Committee has motion pending to revisit neighborhood schooling.  What do we think?
    • Not enough info to know.  That’s why we need to study the issue.
    • Would city-wide specialty schools still work?
    • School Dept would have to work hard to maintain parity among the various schools.
    • Councilor Leahy strongly in favor of neighborhood schools.

Meeting Adjourns at 7:56.

September 2018 Minutes

LDNA 9/24/18

7 PM, LTC

 

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Sam Litvin

 

Meeting called to order at: 7:03.

 

Opening greeting

 

Approval of minutes

Approval of June minutes; Motion made and 2nd from floor; approved.

 

Police Report

Capt. Barry Golner – A Sector Commander

  • 5 Agg assaults; all resulted in arrests or court summons for perpetrator.
  • 4 car breaks; all involved unlocked vehicles – LOCK YOUR CARS!
  • 8 Disorderlies – many involved fights involving LHS students.

Q&A:

  • Issue of homeless sleeping in doorways seems to be increasing.
    • LPD works with shelter, hospital, etc. to try to direct people to services.
    • New Mental Health Court as well as special drug court has been created to help.
  • Crime is way down, but calls for service is way up. Mostly “social” issues that police are called on as the only available 24/7 agency.
    • Cuts to social service agencies need to be reversed so services are available.
  • Should we be worried about shooting right on Merrimack Street in early evening?
    • It was an isolated incident. The two parties new each other and had a dispute.  Suspect surrendered to police within 24hrs.
  • Is organized crime a problem in the city?
    • Not like it used to be. Mainly involves various ethnic groups, e.g., gambling rings, etc.

 

Treasurer’s Report

$775.00 balance, according to interim treasurer Carolyn.  Everyone is invited to make a voluntary $10 membership contribution.

 

Special Guest:  Lowell Police Superintendent Raymond “Kelly” Richardson

The Superintendent introduced himself and spoke briefly during the earlier police presentation.

 

Special Guest:  Claire Ricker of Lowell DPD

  • Chief design planner and senior planner for Hamilton canal district master plan area
  • 13 acre site.
  • Winn Companies has a signed agreement to develop parcels 8 &9.
    • Rental “workforce” Housing (20/80/20 income mix)
    • Air bridge between 2 buildings will have additional housing units.
    • MEPA process dictates environmental standards
  • Justice Center with 7 courts and registry of deeds will open in January 2020.
  • New parking garage has some innovative and exciting exterior design features.
    • 930 parking spaces
    • It will have electric charging stations and bike storage.
    • Pedestrian access to adjacent canal is anticipated.
    • Construction will begin in spring of 2019.
  • City website has a tab with links to info on all construction projects.
  • Lord Overpass is at 100% design. 3 year construction with opening in 2022.
    • Construction will overlap with Central Street bridge project for about 1yr.

Q&A:

  • Natasha is new transportation engineer.
  • Toby Marks is new parking director.

 

Discussion

  • LDNA logo is on storage container at Kerouac Park following donation.
  • Future guests?
    • Bring in another update on bridge closings as it gets closer to the time.
    • Fire Dept.
    • New business owners. Maybe get update on Market St. Hotel.
    • Ask for representative from license commission to com speak to us.
    • Steve Stowell form Historic Commission.

 

Meeting Adjourns at 8:28.

June 2018 Minutes

LDNA 6/25/18

7 PM, LTC

 

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Jack Moynihan

Sam Litvin

 

Meeting called to order at: 7:03.

 

Opening greeting

 

Approval of minutes

Approval of March and April minutes; Motion by Carolyn, 2nd by Jack.

 

Police Report

Sgt. Jose Ramirez – A Sector patrol supervisor on early night shift

  • Agg assault on 30 Middlesx St: knife incident arrest made.
  • Agg assault on Central St – arrests made.
  • Other Burglaries and robberies still under investigation.

Q&A:

  • Situation at TD Bank is worst in memory.
    • Extra officer is on foot patrol in area.
  • Need to update email links on website.
  • Not much interest when people come to front desk to report issues
    • Better to go directly to criminal investigation division or other units.
    • LDNA board can forward comments to Sgt Ramirez directly.
  • Does LPD have jurisdiction between new Courthouse and walking path. More incidents of drinking near Jackson St end near bridge.
    • Yes, shared with LNHP. Will look into it.

 

Treasurer’s Report

$775.00 balance, according to interim treasurer Carolyn.  Everyone is invited to make a voluntary $10 membership contribution.

 

Special Guest:  City Manager Eileen Donoghue

  • Honored to be here; one of the best cities in the country. Over 20 years representing the city, but Manager job is a new perspective.
  • New budget: Met with all Dept. heads, made $1M in cuts from preliminary draft.
  • Public hearing on choosing new Police Chief. Residents’ comments are welcome.
  • In process of implementing new cannabis laws. Takes effect July 1st.  Possible dispensary locations are all on outskirts of city; none are downtown.  Required to have minimum of 5 licensees (based on qty of package store licenses.)
  • Talked to Chief Taylor and acting chief Webb and Deputy Richardson about increased police visibility downtown.
  • Also working with Planning dept. and DPW about improving conditions downtown. Flowers are back – makes a real difference downtown.  Kids summer jobs will water the flowers.
  • If police or other departments aren’t responsive then call manager’s office directly.

Q&A

  • When is construction allowed?
    • 7am – 6pm, except by special permit.
  • Why is the parking garages being made to pay for themselves when trash is subsidized and yet downtown residents don’t benefit at all.
    • Good point. Trash & recycling contracts expire in Dec.
    • Recycling is no longer free for the city; and city-wide recycling participation isn’t great.
  • Condo associations were locked into buying spaces and have no recourse when rates rise.
    • That was an arm-length agreement that was entered into by both parties long ago.
  • What can be done to improve Downton lighting (e.g. brightness)
    • Working on it with planning & development.
  • Can we repair broken benches and steps by the train locomotive? Also crumbling plaza and dead trees in front of Roy Garage?
    • Will look into it. Also repairs needed to area on Prescott Street.
  • Adopt an island program needs to be flowed-up on. Many areas not being maintained.
    • Need to review entire program.
  • Vacuum truck makes a big difference. Kudos!

 

Special Guest:  JoAnn Marcos of the LNHP

  • 32nd year; Folk Fest is last full weekend of July.
  • In charge of volunteers; volunteers are needed!
    • Volunteers are absolutely essential. Only need to commit 4hrs.
    • Many types of volunteers; donation bucket brigade, ice & water delivery; t-shirt sales, recycling, inside and outside jobs.
  • All food vendors are 401c3 organizations raising money for good causes.
    • All the food vendor workers are volunteers.
  • Roads will be blocked again this year.
  • Last year for Dutton Dance Stage location; new location TBD. Maybe by Tsongas.  Suggestions?
  • Park has some summer kids workers who can do cleanups. Tell JoAnn if a park area needs cleaning up.

Q&A:

  • Pavement between Dutton st pavilion and canal place is all broken up and won’t accommodate golf cart traffic.
    • Will look into it
  • Will Roy Garage we accessible?
  • Do you know how many people come to the fest by train?
    • Don’t know
  • Does park own Northern Canal Walkway?
    • It’s open now. But it needs to be closed depending on flow for safety.
    • It will be closed once work starts on the bridge.

 

Discussion

  • Upcoming meeting 7/18 at 6:30 at LTC on charter review and elections issues.
  • LDNA to donate $100 to Kerouac park renovation effort. Motion made and 2nd.
  • No July meeting; Next meeting in August.

 

Meeting Adjourns at 8:27.

April 2018 Minutes

LDNA 4/23/18

7 PM, LTC

 

Present:

Carolyn Alphen

Jack Moynihan

Stephen Greene

Sam Litvin

 

Meeting called to order at: 7:01.

 

Opening greeting

 

 

Approval of minutes

Approval of January and February minutes; Motion by Carolyn, 2nd by Sam.

 

 

Police Report

Capt Crowley – Sector ‘A’ Commander.

 

  • Shooting on Merrimack St involved parties who knew each other.
  • Big uptick in vandalism all over the city including downtown
    • Lee St and Merrimack street numerous broken windows.
    • Various damaged vehicles
  • Aggravated assaults
    • 2 Domestic incident
    • Fight between women involving nail file
  • Burglaries
    • 1 domestic issue
    • 1 incident at courthouse
  • Disorderly incidents
    • Mostly involving bar closings
  • Shoplifting
    • Cosmetic supplies at Rite-Aid
  • Car break-ins
    • Unlocked doors
    • Rolled-down windows
    • Purse left on seat in plain view – window smashed.

 

LPD received grant to boost staffing during problem times.

 

 

 

Treasurer’s Report

$755.29 balance.  Everyone is invited to make a voluntary $10 membership contribution.

 

Special Guest:  James Saunders of Lowell Makes

  • Open house every Wednesday 6-9pm
    • “Repair night” once a month for small 1-time projects.
  • Wood shop, electronics, photography, 3d printers, machine shop, fabric crafts, many more things
    • Volunteer organization – can arrange for training with tools.
  • 18+ agree for membership
    • Membership is $49/mo, $35/mo for students.
    • $15 day pass available.
  • Classes and workshops available
  • May 19th Skill Share event (10:00am – 4:00pm)
    • Series of 1hr workshops throughout the day on all sorts of topics
  • 4yrs at current location on Merrimack Street.

 

 

 

Special Guest:  Richard Howe of “Lowell Walks”

 

  • 4th year of Lowell Walks series
  • Most walks on Saturday morning at 10:00am
    • Most walks last about 90min.
    • Great to come and stay for lunch downtown after the walk.
  • Additional walking events scheduled in collaboration with LNHP

 

Richard proceeded to describe the walks scheduled for this season.

 

 

Discussion

  • Update on parking
    • Meeting rescheduled
    • Lawyers opposed parking increase.
  • No LDNA meeting in May 2018
  • Point of Light event kicking off Art Week in Lowell
  • Doors Open Lowell coming up
  • New England Pet Expo.
  • New restaurant “The Keep” opening where Ricardo’s was.
    • Tutu Benne closed.
    • Thrift stores moved out of downtown
  • Proposal: Fine vacant storefronts to encourage occupancy and discourage allowing them to become blighted.
    • Mayor Samaras responds that the City is looking at options and various city councilors have motions on related matters pending.
    • Fines should be re-invested in improving downtown storefronts
    • LDNA will follow up in a future meeting.
  • Restaurants with sidewalk seating take up too much of the sidewalk and prevent pedestrian access.
    • City agents are now inspecting every week.
    • Perhaps the sidewalks should be marked as to where the seating is allowed to be.
  • LDNA/ HOA committee introduction
    • Private alleyways need to be maintained and trash removed.
  • Missing trash barrel by Pawtucket Canal at Prescott Street side walkway.
  • Locate recycling bins in garages along with trash bins.
  • Has Hamilton canal construction effected condo process/sales at canal place?
    • Not too bad so far. We know of one sale hat fell through because of planned garage.
    • Worried once garage goes up and blocks light.

 

 

Meeting Adjourns at 8:16.

March 2018 Minutes

LDNA 3/26/18

7 PM, LTC

 

Present:

Jack Moynihan

Stephen Greene

Sam Litvin

 

Meeting called to order at: 7:00.

 

Opening greeting

 

Approval of minutes

Approval of January and February minutes; Motion by Stephen, 2nd by Sam.

 

Treasurer’s Report

Approximately $775.25 balance.  Everyone is invited to make a voluntary $10 membership contribution.

 

Police Report

Capt Crowley – Sector ‘A’ Commander.

               2 aggravated assaults related to Club 74.

1 assault related to a tow driver dispute.

Burglary related to someone moving into their apartment; truck left unattended.

Burglary of digital x-ray machine from professional building.  ($7k)

Shoplifting (of skin cream) from drug store

Various vandalism (smashed windows, and damaged car at John St. Garage)

 

Staffing grant money now available for extra downtown patrols during good weather.

 

Q:  What to do about needles?  A:  Call non-emergency number and Trinity will pick them up.  If not gone within an hour or so, call again.

 

Q:  How can we focus better on cracking down on over-serving?  A:  LPD works with investigation section and ABCC investigators.

 

Q: What about drunk driving?  Thorndike DUI checkpoint is no longer available.  A:  Encourage increased use of ride-sharing – working on a way to make this more convenient for patrons.

              

 

Special Guest:  Yovani Baez-Rose and Christine McCall, Lowell Department of Planning & Development

  • In the process of doing open space plan
    • 5 year plan
    • Pre-requisite for state funding of projects
    • Public comments available on City Website; also online survey available with translations in Spanish and Kamai
    • Public meeting on 4/17 at Senior Center.
  • What’s missing in downtown?
    • Non-vehicular access to other parts of the city.
      • In particular access to Western Ave Studios, Bruce Freeman Trail.
    • Picnic / BBQ areas with tables
    • Deteriorating benches in many parks
    • Spruce up existing parks (e.g. small park in front of Leo Roy Garage.)
    • Active features such as life-size chess/checkers set or “walking labyrinth”
      • But security issues have to be a major consideration in design
    • Improvement to south common such as artificial turf.
    • Close streets to vehicular traffic for a Sunday (Maybe each Sunday in a different neighborhood) to encourage pedestrian activity.
    • Need more bike racks all over.
    • More concerts/events in brick courtyard by LNHP visitor center.
    • Green walls to improve e.g. parking garage walls.
  • What about in other areas of the city?
    • Better utilization of Vandenburg esplanade
      • Including improvement to sidewalk access to downtown
    • Improved dog-parks
    • Water access (e.g. for kayaks) downstream of the falls.
  • What do you leave Lowell to do that we could bring here?
    • Cross-country ski trails
    • Activities for small children
    • Climbing structure that doubles as public art.
  • What’s going on with trees?
    • Many are in bad shape. Survey of the situation will take place in spring.
  • No need to put down quite so much rock salt; it only serves to wreck pavement and plants
  • Open house meeting at LNHP Headquarters on 4/4 at 6:30pm.

 

 

Special Guest:  Nick Navin, City Parking Director

  • City Council Public Hearing on new parking rates on 4/3 at 7:00pm.
  • No rate hike in ~14 years.
  • Initial proposal for rate hike was deemed to aggressive; new proposal is more modest as simply an adjustment to account for inflation over the past 14 years. (36%)
  • On-street parking rate increases from $1/hr to $1.50/hr

 

Q:  What about a validation to help businesses?  A:  Willing to look at it?

Q: What about extending meter hours past 6pm?  A:  I’m in favor, but there’s not widespread support.  Also demand-based parking rates and progressive pricing.

Q:  Isn’t it outrageous that parking spot reservation on public streets outside of downtown is only $10/yr?  A:  Yes.

Q:  What about more electric vehicle charging stations?  A:  Councilor Cirillo says a motion is in the works to look at expanding access.  Nick points out huge backlog of maintenance and notes that as funds become available more chargers will be installed.

 

Meeting Adjourns at 8:31.