City Council Recap: Lots of discussion, little bit of action

Thanks to the Labor Day holiday, this week’s regular Lowell City Council meeting was bumped from Monday to Tuesday night.

Mayor Mike DeVore was absent as a nearly full house attended, with many intending to address an ordinance violation sent to the Help Yourself Garden.

Help Yourself Garden Main Topic of Discussion

After the meeting was called to order and the agenda, minutes and expenses approved, the floor was opened up for citizen comments concerning items not on the agenda. A steady stream of people approached the podium to share their thoughts on the Help Yourself Garden.

Up first was a couple who live near the garden. They stated that they are all about giving and helping others, but they don’t believe a garden should be there.  In particular, they are concerned about the additional traffic and the safety of their children.

Then, a number of residents rose in support of the garden. Many also offered solutions to address neighbor concerns. Supporter Heather Dilly, for instance, suggested restricting hours and asking people to park on Main Street instead of Grove Street.

Rachael Osborne stood up with her 11-year old daughter Ada. Her daughter has been volunteering in the garden weekly and says she loves helping others. She brought a letter from the school principal stating that Ada is showing much improvement this year with responsibility. Ada’s mother believes that volunteering at the garden has been very helpful.

Others, such as Krystin Ryder, thought it would be better to have a community garden in a place where more people could participate.

Overall, 12 people spoke or wrote in support of the Help Yourself Garden and three people shared concerns with its operation in its current location. City Council members did not provide any public response to any of these citizen comments.

There were also citizen comments regarding enforcement of the speed limit on Hudson Street and whether a fence could be erected to hide brush piles located in the corner of Oakwood Cemetery. Police Chief Steve Bukala said electronic speed signs would be installed on Hudson Street. Assistant City Manager Rich LaBombard said fencing off the piles in the cemetery was a great idea.

Action Items from the Tuesday Meeting

The City Council meeting lasted about 55 minutes. Of that, almost 40 minutes was spent on citizen comments. During the remaining time, City Council took the following actions:

  • Approved the hire of Dan Sorek from engineering firm Prein&Newhof to serve as operator in charge of the water distribution system on an interim basis. His service comes at an hourly rate of $122 and will be used on as-needed basis.
  • Approved the closure of North Broadway for the 17th Annual Chili Cook-Off.
  • Authorized all spendable balance within the LCTV Fund to be made available for grants.
  • Approved the Lowell Light & Power hybrid pension plan which has been in use since 2012 but was never previously voted on by City Council.
  • Approved an easement for Consumer Energy to install a natural gas pipeline.

Lowell City Council will meet next on Monday, September 17, at 7pm at City Hall.


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