Blogs

Playground work continuing in winter at Cronin Park

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Work is ongoing this winter with the playground installation at Cronin Park. The play equipment work should continue for another week and then the contractor, Quirk Construction, will proceed with construction of the garden beds for the community garden area. We look forward to having the park complete by summer for kids' playing and for gardening!

Groundwork USA launches new website!

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Check out the new Groundwork USA website launched February 1.

Groundwork Lawrence is an affiliate of Groundwork USA. The Groundwork USA network is built on partnership and linked together by the Groundwork USA national office, with support from the Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Program and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

Bread and Roses Housing Announces Application Process for Affordable Housing in Lawrence

Bread and Roses Housing, Inc., a Community Land Trust, is currently accepting applications for 3-bedroom homes to be built (duplex style) in Lawrence, MA. Each 3-bedroom, 1.5 bath home will be sold for $75,000 to a low income first time homebuyer. The homes will remain owner-occupied and affordable through all future sales and re-sales.

To receive information and to learn about how you can apply you must attend a BRH seminar on
Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 6 PM
or
Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 3 PM
at the main branch of the
Lawrence Public Library.

Applications are only available by attending a BRH seminar.

¿Esta interesado en comprar una casa económica?

BRH esta aceptando aplicaciones para comprar casas de 3-dormitorios que estarán en construcción en Lawrence, MA. Cada unídad (la mitad del duplex) tiene un coste de $75,000 y serán vendidas a propietarios de bajos ingresos y ser primeros compradores. Las casas deben permanecer ocupadas y mantenerse a bajos precios en ventas futuras.

Para recibir más información y una aplicación tiene que asistir a una reunión:
el martes, el 2 de marzo 2010 a las 6 PM
o
el sabado, el 20 de marzo, 2010 a las 3 PM
en la biblioteca publica de Lawrence.

For more information, contact:

Lidia Rivera-Garcia
Bread & Roses Housing
PO Box 7
Lawrence, MA 01842
(978) 685-1823 x 1
infoatbrh@aol.com

Luis Yepez, GWL Board member, and his brother, Juan, attend tonight's State of the Union Address

I'm happy to share with you that Luis and Juan Yepez will be attending this evening's State of the Union address. Luis and Juan have been strong supporters of GWL and the City of Lawrence for many years. Luis is a member of GWL's Board of Directors and Juan serves on Family Services' Board. Juan will be seated in the viewing box with First Lady Michelle Obama, an extraordinary honor and a great tribute to Luis and Juan's work and contributions in Lawrence. We are incredibly proud to be so well-represented at this historic event! Here are a couple of links with the story:

Information from the White House Press Release:
Juan and Luis Yepez are Ecuadorian-natives, who in ten short years, have built a successful and growing commercial real estate company in addition to growing Mainstream Global, a worldwide distributor of computer products, consumer electronics, and electronic components, in mills once inhabited by earlier generations of immigrants. The Yépez brothers were the recipients of the 2009 Small Business Administration Phoenix award for recovering from a major flood that destroyed almost $400,000 of inventory while still managing to flourish in the midst of an economic downturn. They believe that doing business in an area hit by 17 percent unemployment is more than just giving back and that hiring first generation Americans like themselves who want to work and contribute to society is the cornerstone of long-term success.

Launch of Merrimack Valley MPO's 2011 Regional Transportation Plan

MVPC is holding three kick-off meetings around the region to discuss the content of Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), how they intend to develop the document so that the MPO can adopt the new plan in March 2011, and most importantly to listen to any suggestions or observations that you may have that should be considered in the document. Consider attending one of these three sessions:

  • January 28, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at Salisbury Town Hall, Colchester Room, 5 Beach Street, Salisbury, MA
  • February 2, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at 60 Island Street, Lawrence, 1st floor (same building as Groundwork Lawrence)
  • February 4, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at Haverhill City Hall, Room 301, Main Street, Haverhill, MA
  • Light refreshments will be served; call Andy Komornick at MVPC for more infromation: (978) 374-0519.

    The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is the cornerstone of the transportation planning process. While many people focus their attention on the MPO’s project programming tool, the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), it is the RTP where a region’s transportation priorities are established, where existing and potential problems with the transportation network are identified, where future travel demand is forecast and where studies that address these issues are first recommended. The recommendations and findings included in the Plan are then moved to implementation usually as studies that get included in the region’s Unified Planning Work Program, and then ultimately as projects that get programmed for implementation in the TIP. However, while we often tell people that any project or program that is to be implemented using federal transportation funding must appear in the TIP, the importance of the RTP can be found in the fact that no important transportation project can appear in the TIP without also being in the Regional Transportation Plan.

Uplifting story on Lawrence on NECN

Groundwork Lawrence’s former Executive Director, Maggie Super Church, is one of two families highlighted in NECN’s Bending the Curve: Closing the Economic Gap story aired on Tuesday, January 12. The Spicket River Greenway and Union Crossing projects are highlighted, as well as our partner, Lawrence CommunityWorks with their great financial asset building programming including supporting first time homeowners and working to help families avoid foreclosure. Watch the clip on Lawrence’s great assets and affordable living for a diverse community by visiting this link.

Fresh Food for All: GWL Takes Part in Workshops Across the State for Increased SNAP/EBT at Farmers Markets

In November and December, I had a the pleasure of speaking at a series of workshops across the state aimed at increasing Farmers Markets' participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and educating market managers how they can benefit from accepting these benefits at their markets.

The workshops were facilitated and hosted by the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), and the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) and were a great success, with nearly 40 market managers from all over the state attending to learn about SNAP in Massachusetts and how SNAP benefits, if accepted, represent an enormous potential sales increase for many farmers markets. Currently nearly 700,000 citizens of the Commonwealth are enrolled in SNAP--and research indicates that many more qualify but are not enrolled. Each of these 700,000 individuals receives a monthly benefit for the purchase of food--and currently, much of that revenue is being captured by large supermarkets and smaller convenience stores. Small farmers and other local food vendors--who often struggle to make enough to stay in business year after year--could stand to benefit greatly from their involvement with the SNAP/EBT programs.

GWL's Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market has been accepting SNAP/Food Stamps/EBT for the past three years and has seen a considerable increase in SNAP/Food Stamp sales each year--a 67% increase from 2008-2009 alone! GWL has also been noted for its innovative efforts to reach out to SNAP/Food Stamp beneficiaries and was able to share these outreach strategies and best practices with attendees of the workshops. To view the presentation GWL gave at the workshops, visit DAR's website (scroll down nearly to the bottom of the page and click on the document titled "Utilizing EBT at Farmers Markets" by Groundwork Lawrence under "EBT/SNAP Resources").

Big week in Lawrence

A new decade, a new mayor, and federal dollars to move Union Crossing

On Monday, January 4th, State Representative William Lantigua was inaugurated as Mayor of Lawrence. Mayor Lantigua is the first Latino mayor in the State of Massachusetts. According to the article in the Eagle Tribune, he says he wants to be the best mayor Lawrence ever had. Read the full article here. The staff of Groundwork Lawrence congratulates Representative Lantigua and is looking forward to working with him and his staff.

On Tuesday, US Representative Nikki Tsongas was in Lawrence to announce support for the Union Crossing Project in the amount of $743,500. This federal money will drive the project to a groundbreaking later this spring. Union Crossing will transform the former Southwick Complex into 400,000 sf of renovated and newly built space for family and workforce housing, commercial office, retail, community facilities as well as new public green space. Read the full article from the Tribune here.

Cronin Park Demolition (and Renovation) has begun!

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Quirk Construction moved on site today to begin demolition of Cronin Park's existing structures as part of the park overhaul. The park renovation is being funded by the State Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Community Development Block Grant Funding administered by the Community Development Department. The construction (and before that the design) is being managed by Groundwork Lawrence. The landscape architect for the project is Steven Cosmos (who also worked on Misserville Park among others).

Please keep up to date with the work on the blog and on the Cronin Park Project Page!

City soliciting input on consolidated plan

Complete the online survey.

The City of Lawrence is in the process of developing a new five-year Consolidated Plan that will establish community goals and guide resource allocations. The Consolidated Plan is a document required by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). The Plan will cover the period 2010-2014. The Consolidated Plan serves as

1. a planning document …which builds on a participatory process
2. a submission for Federal funds;
3. a strategy to be followed in carrying out HUD programs; and
4. a management tool for assessing performance and tracking results.

Read more on our blog post below.