Planning for our Future
Sweeney, Lawrence Planning Director
Mayor Sullivans leadership on
a key issue has produced dramatic results this past week.
Over the past month the property at 207 Marston Street
has generated a number of negative stories in the local
press. One of the largest privately owned parcels in the
city, this 14 acre lot is visible from RT495, very close
to the new Parthum school and adjacent to a number of
privates homes and important businesses like Mr. Charlie
Dahers Commonwealth Motors.
A combined team effort including work by City Attorney
Charles Boddy, Tom Schiavone, Treasurer Patty Cook,
Inspectional Service Caroline Ganley, Building
Commissioner Luis Waldron and Council President Patrick
Blanchette took the time and energy to focus on the
issues involving this property.
Communication, or lack thereof, was a key element in the
problem. We set up meetings with the financial group
holding the current note on the property. To their
credit, once they realized that Mayor Sullivans
team was united and focused on the issue, the note holder
stepped to the plate.
A tax agreement was proposed and working closely with
John Griffen and Patty Cook, with oversight by Attorney
Boddy, we were able to finalize an agreement that
resulted in a payment of $90,000 directly to the City of
Lawrence. That money will immediately have an impact on
the citys budget.
Also important has been Mayor Sullivans approach of
focusing on the environmental issues present on the site.
First Lawrence Financial, the mortgagee of the property,
has made a dedicated effort to work towards the proper
cleaning of the site and has tightly secured the location
over the past few weeks.
The Planning Department has been working closely with Mr.
Ed Huminick of First Lawrence Financial to increase
communication about the environmental clean up. We have
enlisted the help of both the state DEP office and the
federal EPA office to ensure that site is properly
The reuse of this site presents an important opportunity
to bring significant retail or other commercial use. The
potential for the city to enhance its tax base, create
new jobs and have a cleaner, useable site is tremendous.
In the coming months we will continue to work closely
with First Lawrence Financial to ensure that the property
becomes a valuable and clean site in our city.
The tax agreement reached this month was an important
show of good faith by First Lawrence Financial. Members
of Mayor Sullivans team will continue to work
diligently on the proper end use of the property and to
enlist the help of DEP and EPA to ensure a clean, usable
site that will service the citys interest for years
It will be a grand achievement for the city when this
site is restored to proper and significant usage in the
next two years.
More Action On Commercial Sites
Very shortly the public will learn of a key development
in the downtown area that will result in a building that
has been closed and unoccupied for over decade being
demolished. The building has lived past its commercial
usage and had become both a fire hazard and an eyesore.
To their credit, the owners of the property never stopped
working with the city on ways to resolve the issues
presented by this challenging property. Months of hard
work is coming together.
Over the next six months we will be working together to
have the building demolished and work on the
redevelopment of this important site that has the
potential to bring a host of new businesses and new
energy to the downtown area. Just keep your eyes on the
local media for an announcement on this shortly.
Michael Sweeney is the planning director for the
city of Lawrence, a former member of the Lawrence City
Council and School Committee. You can e-mail Mr.
Sweeney at Esqsweeney@aol.com
*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The November, 2006
Edition of the Valley Patriot
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