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Community Development Department Accomplishments

The City of Lowell uses Community Development Block grant funds to leverage other resources to make a large impact on low income community members and neighborhoods within the City. Below are a few examples of how CDBG funds made a difference in the City of Lowell.
During Fiscal Year 2013
  • Community Development Block Grant funds were used to support public facility improvements for youth in Lowell. The Boys and Girls Club received funds to repair a damaged roof that impeded youth activities, and the YWCA in the Acre received funds to update lighting, plumbing, and interior upgrades.
  • CDBG funds were expended to support the infrastructure improvements for the Hamilton Canal District. This ongoing activity supports the development of new streets and sidewalks, permanent affordable housing units, office and retail space for new businesses and non-profits, and new public facilities and open space for approximately 15 acres of diminishing vacant space in the Jackson/Appleton/Middlesex (JAM) Urban Renewal Plan. The major redevelopment project of FY 12-13 in all of Lowell, not associated with the massive expansion of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, was the $42 million redevelopment of a portion of the Hamilton Mills complex in the JAM Plan into the new Lowell Community Health Center. The former mill section is now home to state-of-the-art clinical, laboratory and patient service facilities. The Health Center's expansion is projected to double their staff level and double their client base, with the result that nearly 1 of 2 people in the City of Lowell will walk through the Health Center's doors on the newly redeveloped Jackson Street in the JAM Plan.
  • The Mill City Grows garden site development project, 'seeded' with CDBG money, revitalized a vacant lot at the Rotary Park Community Garden, which has forty, 4′x10′ gardeners’ beds and four, 2.5′x10′ demonstration beds.  Forty gardeners from diverse backgrounds have signed up, creating an international flavor to the garden which will convert an idle and problematic lot into a productive urban farm.
  • CDBG funds the City Manager’s Neighborhood Impact Initiative, which targets low income neighborhoods in Lowell where significant deterioration has led to limited private investment and declining property values. Together, with Federal, state, and local resources concentrated in target areas within CDBG-eligible neighborhoods, impacts are felt by the broadest possible cross-section of the neighborhood residents. In FY 12-13 the Upper Merrimack/University Ave Bridge neighborhood was selected to receive assistance. Prior year NII projects initiated in the Centralville and Lower Highlands, and Back Central neighborhoods were also ongoing during the reporting period. For FY 11-12, the Neighborhood Impact Initiative worked on Back Central and Rotary Park was the focus for many recreation amenities and improvements.  A new community garden was built, along with skate park improvements, a new park road, play structure, and plantings. Approximately 10 businesses participated in the Sign & Façade program.  Newhall Street received new sidewalks, curbing, and pavement and renovations were made at Olivera Park.
  • CDBG funds were also awarded to many 'public service' activities, such as the Lowell Wish Project, which provides furniture and household goods to families moving out of shelter and into permanent housing, thereby freeing up other income toward other pressing needs
  • For more information about Community Development accomplishments for FY12-13, please view our Consolidated Annual Performance Report (CAPER).
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