LOWELL, MA – On Friday, April 8, 2022, more than 150 community leaders, city officials and supporters gathered in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District to mark the dedication of the district’s signature bridge in honor of Former Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.
The Lowell City Council voted to dedicate the bridge to Tsongas in 2019 in recognition of her efforts to support the development of the HCID and her service to the City during her time in Congress.
By creating access between the northern and southern portions of the HCID, the 87-foot bridge represents an important component of the implementation of the District’s master plan, which seeks to develop fifteen acres adjacent to Lowell’s downtown for residential, commercial, and mix-use purposes. The bridge opened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic in January 2022.
During the ceremony, City Manager Eileen Donoghue, Mayor Sokhary Chau, Councilor Vesna Nuon, State Representative Vanna Howard, and UMass President Marty Meehan offered tribute to Congresswoman Tsongas, remarking on her leadership on national issues in Washington and her persistent focus on supporting the revitalization of Lowell.
“Throughout her more than 10 years representing our district in Congress, Niki Tsongas became a national leader on a host of critical issues in Washington,” said City Manager Donoghue during the program, “but she never lost sight of what was happening in Lowell, and remain thoroughly involved in every major project happening in the City.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a plaque was unveiled on the northern side of the bridge, adjacent to the Hamilton Canal Innovation District Parking facility. The inscription describes Tsongas as a “champion of Lowell’s renaissance from the start,” who “played an essential role in making Lowell the vital and inspiring pace it is today.”
During her remarks, Tsongas reflected on her experience in Lowell since arriving 55 years ago and remarked on the City’s progress over recent decades. “This is a bridge between our past and our future,” said Tsongas. “Let us hope many young people, many visionaries, many people who wish to call this place home and make it their own enjoy crossing it as I certainly have.
Tsongas’ involvement in initiating development in the Hamilton includes securing a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and passing legislation that enabled the National Park to transfer parcels 15 and 16 to the City, a transaction that was completed in late 2021 following a decade-long effort.