Creating the Spicket River Greenway

Utilizing Persistence and “People Power” to Clean Up and Reclaim the Spicket River

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  • A concept plan for the Spicket River Greenway is developed by a Landscape Architecture student working on a project for Groundwork Lawrence. The concept plan is shared with members of the local community and met with great enthusiasm and interest.


  • Groundwork Lawrence organizes the 1st Spicket River Cleanup. 350 volunteers remove an amazing 13 tons of debris in the pouring rain.
  • The Spicket River Task Force, comprised of 18 members, is formed.
  • A scouting mission is conducted by volunteers with the National Civilian Community Corps to document pollution and debris in and along the river.


  • 370 volunteers remove 11 tons of debris at Groundwork Lawrence’s 2nd Annual Spicket River Cleanup in the pouring rain.
  • A study and inventory of animal species inhabiting the Spicket River is conducted by local middle school students.>li


  • 250 volunteers remove 8 tons of debris at Groundwork Lawrence’s 3rd Annual Spicket River Cleanup in the pouring rain.
  • Groundwork Lawrence Green Team conducts Ecological Rapid Assessments at 10 sites along the Spicket River. Hundreds of plant and animal species utilizing the Spicket River Greenway as habitat are documented


  • The City receives Urban RiverVisions grant funding to create design and bid-documents for the future Misserville Skate Park and William Kennedy Playstead.
  • 300 volunteers remove 9 tons of debris at Groundwork Lawrence’s 4th Annual Spicket River Cleanup. For the first time ever in the history of the Spicket River Cleanup, the sun shined brilliantly
  • As part of the Clean Spicket Campaign, GWL installed “Spicket River – Keep It Clean” and anti-illegal dumping signage at 10 locations along the river.
  • GWL Green Team youth travel to the First Earth Summit for Kids on Biodiversity in Quintana Roo, Mexico to share ecological habitat data they collected along the Spicket River.
Groundwork Team


  • 300 volunteers remove 15 tons of debris at Groundwork Lawrence’s 5th Annual Spicket River Cleanup in the pouring rain (again).
  • Dr. Nina Scarito Park is constructed and celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October.
  • Groundwork Lawrence works with the Lawrence Conservation Commission to research, write, and promote the Rivers and Wetlands Bylaw, designed to limit development within 200 feet of the river’s edge. The Bylaw passes with full City Council support.
  • The Spicket River Greenway Design Guidelines are completed in partnership with Arlington Community Trabajando with financial support from the MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.



  • In preparation for design and construction of a new park along the developing Spicket River Greenway, the City of Lawrence acquires the former incinerator site, located at 85 Manchester Street and adjacent to Stevens Pond near Malden Mills.
  • The final cleanup and park design process for the future park at 85 Manchester Street begins; park site planned for opening in fall 2009.
  • Through Mayor Sullivan’s Parks Improvements Project, lighting and other improvements are installed at Hayden Schofield Playstead.
  • 500 volunteers remove 3.5 tons of trash during the 7th Annual Spicket River Cleanup.
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  • Manchester Street Park is completed with a ribbon cutting in September 2009
  • The City receives DCR Recreational Trails grant funding to survey and design the first section of the Greenway. The one mile section will connect recently completed Manchester Street Park to an under-construction mixed use redevelopment at the former Malden Mills site. When constructed this section will create pedestrian access from the adjacent Arlington Neighborhood to Manchester St. Park and Stevens Pond.
  • 350 volunteers remove 10 tons of trash from the river during the 8th Annual Spicket River Cleanup – September 2009. The cleanup begins and ends at the new Manchester Street Park. A total of 92 tons and over 1,000 tires have been removed from the river to-date.


  • Lawrence’s Spicket River section is selected as a Priority Site by the Massachusetts Department of Ecological Restoration (MA DER). As part of the Priority Site selection, MA DER completes a Natural Resource Management Plan to support GWL’s restoration efforts.
  • The City is awards it’s second DCR Recreational Trails grant to construct the section designed in 2009.
  • Summer 2010 – Green Team repeats Rapid Ecological Assessments along the developing Greenway (planned)
  • Commonwealth of MA and the City of Lawrence award GWL $2.8M to build the SRG.