Planning for our Future
Sweeney, Lawrence Planning Director
So much has happened in the last
month I do not even know where to start. Two events, the
reopening of Veterans Memorial Stadium and the transfer
of the Intown Mall to Northern Essex College to construct
a $20 million Allied Health and High Technology Center,
will fundamentally change the direction and character of
the city of Lawrence forever.
The reopening of Veterans Memorial Stadium is a tangible
signal that the people and leadership of Lawrence have
taken command of their own city. Built without state
assistance, the funding was provided by a historic bond
bill issued by Mayor Michael J. Sullivan and approved by
the City Council. I was struck that some people from our
state delegation had to be reminded of that fact.
The Veteran Services Officers from the Merrimack Valley
deserve a great deal of credit for the program that day.
Dan Lannon and Ed Hoppy Curran and VSOs from
Andover and elsewhere gave repeated great input for the
The Veterans March, a moment that moved everyone, was a
direct result of the advice given by the VSOs. The
reopening marked an important moment in time when the
city drew a line in the sand and demanded self-respect.
Earning the respect of the rest of the Commonwealth is
Special thanks to Pamela Paulman, Joe Viel, and Tom
Schiavone who worked tirelessly on making the reopening a
success and constantly figuring out solutions to never
ending last minute issues. They do not like
the spotlight, but none deserve it more.
White Elephant to High Tech Center
Speaking of transformations, Mayor Sullivans
recommendation to transfer the Intown Mall to NECC will
long be a significant moment in Lawrences history.
The City Council exercised leadership with Councilors
Dimarca and Silva making strong arguments as to why the
NECC selection was the right proposal. It was also a
personal pleasure to be able to work with David Hertleb,
the president of NECC, throughout this process. He stayed
focused, poised and committed to improving the city. It
is apparent that he has built a strong team at NECC and
everyone at the college should be proud of the
Mayor Sullivan and College President Hartleb worked
closely together during the final stages to recognize the
need for an enhanced relationship between the city, NECC
and the business community.
I am excited by the possibilities in our new partnership
and our joint outreach program to create synergy between
the college and the business community is an important
first step, but not the last in this new relationship.
Having the counsel of Tom Schiavone during this process
proved invaluable to me. His calm, insight and political
experience were greatly needed.
Flood Emergency Grant
By the time you read this I am very hopeful and confident
that the City of Lawrence will have been awarded a
significant sum of money to help address immediate issues
caused by the historical flooding during the month of
Mayor Sullivan tasked my department with filing a short
notice grant with the Commonwealth that was then kicked
up to the federal government. With guidance from the
state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and
the Fred Carberrys team from the Work Force
Investment Board, my office was able to quickly turn
around in an application that will help the city move
While writing this, federal Secretary of Labor Elaine
Chas sent my office notice of the award and we are eager
to learn the final details.
As he did during every moment of the flood, Mr. Frank
Bonet, Personnel Director, stepped up to the plate again
and helped me to compose critical elements of the grant
concerning potential placements, wages, duties and union
issues. Mr. Joe Viel from DPW, Department Heads Caroline
Ganley and Ezra Glenn all provided insight to the needs
of various city departments and where the impact would be
the greatest to help the residents and businesses of
Lawrence. Teamwork, not personalities, is what gets the
Judy Perkins, who took on the challenge of ensuring that
all public damages resulting from the historical flooding
are being addressed has been doing great work on that
Mr. Riley and his staff at the Senior Center were
invaluable during the flood. Whenever Mayor Sullivan or I
asked, Mr. Riley simply responded, Thats it?
What else can we do?
A great guy running a program that everyone can be proud
of. And finally Rose. During the flood she provided
critical assistance to our city by providing translation
services, working late and being wherever she was asked
to be. No complaints, no issues, just got the job done.
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 June, 2006 Edition
of the Valley Patriot
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Valley Patriot Archive
Prior columns by TomDuggan
Classroom Credit to Support
Trash Talk in N. Andover
The NY Times & Treason
Actions Speak Louder Than
Tom Duggan's Notebook
Mill City Maulers To Play Stadium