Tuesday Topics -Option 3 needs to stay, Article 97 moving quickly

Garage and Bridge more IMPORTANT than OUR KIDS?

Option 3 needs to remain a viable option, if it has to be voted on tonight then Kennedy – Milinazzo – Leahy – Leary – Samaras and Elliott if he is the fiscal watchdog he claims to be, need to vote to keep this option alive until all the fiscal facts are presented!

The Manager needs to be asked what the city taxes will look like over the next five years and how each location affects the operational budgets of the school department and city.

The argument that there was no other location for the Early Garage when the Hamilton Canal is still a vast wasteland doesn’t wash. Also if there are “two developers” who are going to fight over the present LHS site then the argument that building from scratch is better then renovation seems to be moot since these same developers could have built from scratch less than a mile up the road. Why would you fight for a building that can’t be torn down and has according to many, more asbestos and health issues than Chernobyl? when you could build anything you want at the Hamilton Canal?

For those who don’t think that the Article 97 vote by the Legislature will be quick take a look at the path so far.

Bill H.3654 – An Act authorizing the City of Lowell to use land certain municipal land for school purposes

There has been 1 Amendment already – Bill H3654 Amendment

The original version had section 3 written this way:

If a public high school is constructed at the Clark road fields, the recreational uses provided by the Clark road fields and the stadium parking land shall be replicated in full by the designation and, if necessary, the improvement of not less than 22.35 acres of land owned by the city of Lowell, currently held for municipal purposes, except those purposes protected by article 97 of the Constitution of the commonwealth for recreational uses equivalent with the current recreational use of the property described in subsections (a) and (b).

The Amendment has it more clearly –

Section 3. There shall be no net loss of municipal recreational use as a result of this disposition because if a public school is constructed at the Clark Road Fields the recreational uses provided by the Clark Road Fields and the Douglas Road Land will be replicated in full by the designation and, if necessary, the improvement of 22.35 or more acres of land owned by the City of Lowell, and currently held for other municipal, non-Article 97 purposes, for recreational uses equivalent with the current recreational use of the property described in sections 1 and 2 above;

Compare that to the vote to change the required number of signatures from 50 to 150 to get on a municipal ballot for the upcoming November.

Bill S.1125 – An Act amending the charter of the City of Lowell – By Ms. Donoghue, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1125) of Eileen M. Donoghue (with approval of the mayor and city council) for legislation to amend the charter of the City of Lowell. Municipalities and Regional Government. [Local Approval Received]

It will be an interesting race to see if 1 or both of these home rule petitions get approved by June 1st 2017!

Another longtime political observer doesn’t think the signs I’m reading about finances are wrong.

To those who rightfully point out that there will be utility savings at Cawley please keep in mind what the city actually spends in the entire School system.

These are 2015 numbers but even adding for inflation it’s what $6,000,000 . At best what are we are looking at for savings? possibly $1,000,000 give or take at most?

The political observer in me heard at last Tuesday nights Council meeting that the vote to fund the city’s portion of the project doesn’t take place until next spring.

My first thought was that after June 13th no matter which site is chosen, the upcoming election will be on whether we can afford this project because of the location or whether we can afford any new LHS?

Sadly my 2nd thought was we have to go through another year of Facebook infighting and more splitting of the city at a time and for a project that should have been something positive that united us.

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