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“First and foremost I want to thank Greater Lawrence Community Action Council for always being there for the community, whether it’s helping fire victims, making sure they have somewhere to lay their heads at night, during the gas crisis, or even now during this COVID-19 pandemic where they are a critical place for funds to get to our families in need. The 11 million dollar 39-unit project on 370 Essex Street has been a long time coming; from the City’s first ideas of making it the new School Department building, to the over 6 months of City Council meetings to get the building sold to GLCAC. Throughout all these trials and tribulations, the GLCAC leadership showed their fighting spirit, Evelyn Friedman, GLCAC Executive Director and CEO, had mobilized a large number of Lawrence residents in support of the soon to come affordable housing development, marking a turning point. The City was glad to be able to a contributor to the overall efforts of the GLCAC from acquiring the property, to putting it up for RSB, as well as providing $385K in HOME funding that would later be backed by support from the Commonwealth and our state delegation: State Senator Barry Finegold, Representative Christina Minicucci, Representative Frank Moran, and Representative Marcos Devers. It was clear that there was, and continues to be, a need for Lawrence residents to have affordable housing options. With the support of our Congresswoman Lori Trahan, who has continuously advocated for funding to be targeted to issues such as affordable housing, childcare and food, the GLCAC was able to get further funding to propel this project forward.
Growing up in Lawrence, everyone has their own memories of growing up on Essex St. With every generation, the memories change a bit, the accents change, the storefronts change. With this project and those to come, the kids of today will see the Essex Street of the future, bringing back the hustle and bustle that I remember as a kid. We have ongoing projects that will bring housing density Downtown and provide support to existing small business that have been with us for decades; while simultaneously creating a more attractive environment for new entrepreneurs that will follow to provide more services for the families that will come and live in developments all along Essex Street. Along with housing developments the Downtown area is scheduled for a face-lift including: painting the new LED light poles, modernization of public lots, and the long awaited repair of the Museum Square Parking Garage on Methuen Street, all to create a better Downtown feel. The Downtown area is not the only area that is seeing improvements, we have seen the painting of the Buckley Parking Garage, the lighting of the Casey Bridge and historic Clock Tower, the installation of speed bumps across the City to deter speeders, along with mural installations and general street painting, all playing a role in the overall beautification of the City and the reimaging of the real estate in the City.
The 39 units that will be created on 370 Essex Street is part of a larger cluster of almost 180 units that will go online on Essex St. alone. These developments will transform empty lots and buildings into homes for our residents really creating a neighborhood feel in the Downtown area. Supported by the easy access to the rest of the City through fare-free public transportation, Essex Street will soon be an intertwined hub of living space and commercial locales.
As a kid from Lawrence, I just want to express my gratitude to the GLCAC and other local and regional developers who are helping us Make Lawrence Better. Growing up in Lawrence we walk by these empty buildings and mills and never expect anything from them. This project and the 179 other units on Essex Street means that the children that live here will expect more of this city and of their own lives!”