When I started out in 2006, I was new to Lowell and was sharing a lot of what I was learning about the city as I went. A few years ago, I moved over to Blogger and the topics moved from Lowell "As It Is and As It Was" to broader issues with a local focus. At this point, I feel that many other, exponentially more popular blogs, cover this stuff really well. What they don't cover is often available on Facebook, where numerous Lowell groups and pages have sprung up. For example, I helped found the Innovative Cities: Lowell, Massachusetts group, and am an admin/content creator on the Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association and Lowell Historical Society pages. Both of these pages also have blogs. I almost never use it, but I'm also on Twitter. You'll see that I updated my reading list panel with a few blogs that weren't there before.
I've also been really busy. In addition to my Facebook work, I have a new Real Job and have been involved in various other things. I've become more involved with Mill City Grows recently, and I also am now a graduate of The Lowell Plan's Public Matters program.
I was invited to speak to the City Manager on Channel 99 last week with members of the mainstream media and fellow bloggers. Mimi over at Left In Lowell, has a post linking to all the other posts about the Round-table discussion. I think it went really well - the questions were excellent and the members of the Lynch Administration (now completing six years!) who were present did a great job answering our questions. There was a lot of buzz of course about the license commission, but other great questions asked the administration why there are few or no women/minorities on the various city boards and why Lowell has one of the highest commercial tax rates in the Commonwealth. Lowell CFO Tom Moses explained that land values in Lowell tend to be lower so overall tax burden is fairly average. Furthermore, compared to other expenses, property tax burden tends to be a non-issue, especially when compared to the major reasons a company may choose to locate in a particular community (things like infrastructure and available workforce). Of course, questions on what the administration has done a great and a poor job of came up, as did schools, etc.
I don't exactly see a replay of the Round-table on 99, and I don't see it available for steaming - but if it's out there, give it a viewing.
That all said, I do plan to still post, so continue to follow me on Blogger, or subscribe to me on Facebook. I've been keeping an eye on the developments along Tanner Street and the Rourke Bridge and have tried to make the meetings when I can. The Hamilton Canal District is still progressing. 110 Canal Street and the new Canal Street bridge are the next steps in the project - the bridge is complete and the groundbreaking of the 110 Canal Street groundbreaking is imminent. I've included some photos from Craig Thomas, our new Urban Renewal Project Manager (taking over from James Errickson), of the progress at the bridge over the past few years. What a change!
Until next time...