Annual Meeting of Stakeholder's Representatives
March 24, 2009

MEETING MINUTES

The Annual Meeting of the Lowell Center City Committee, Inc. was held Tuesday March 24, 2009

The Stakeholder groups were represented by the following members:

Artists, Steve Syverson;
Building Owners, Larry Field;
Business/Community Banking, Jamie O’Hearn;
Business/JAMBRA, Tim Shanahan;
Business/Resources, Terry Williams;
City of Lowell/DPD, Theresa Park;
City of Lowell/Police Dept., Captain Thomas Kennedy;
Education/Middlesex CC, Molly Sheehy;
Education/UMass Lowell, Dr. Joseph Lipchitz;
General Population/LRTA, Jim Scanlan;
Non-Profit Corporations/CTI, Bill Lipchitz;
Residents/Lowell DNA, Ted Lavash;

Absent:
Building Owners, Marshall Field;
Business/Chamber of Commerce, Jeanne Osborn;
Business/Lowell Plan, Jim Cook;
Business/Restaurants, Franky Descoteaux;
Business/Retailers, George Vallaras
Cultural Organizations, L.Z. Nunn;
Education/Lowell High School, Roxanne Howe;
General Population/NMCOG, Beverly Woods;
Visitors/Lowell National Park; Mehmed Ali.;
Visitors/CVB, Fred Hunter;
Youth/UTEC, Greg Croteau;

Also present were Alternates Suzzanne Cromwell (Cultural Organizations); Chris Samaras (City of Lowell, DPD) Anne Ruthmann and Guests Karen Bell; Jerry Bisantz; Brett Cromwell;  Brett Fermeglia; Jason Gibbs; RC Lations; Greg Page; Ratriey Dang; City Manager Bernie Lynch; and DPD Director Adam Baacke

The meeting opened at 8:00 AM.

President Bill LipchitzPresident Bill Lipchitz opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and thanking Jim Cook and The Lowell Plan for providing the coffee and pastries.  In addition to thanking Molly Sheehy for providing the space for the meeting, Bill gave a special thanks to his Administrative Assistant at CTI, Christine DeFeo, for all her help with memberships, mailings, announcements, and putting together the Annual Meeting.

Business Portion of the Meeting:

Election of Building Owners Representatives
Referring to the revised CCC by-laws, which state that any stakeholder group not having an existing organization may have its voting member appointed by the total membership, the President proposed that Marshall Field be appointed voting member for the Building Owners and Larry Field be the alternate. On a motion by Steve Syverson, seconded by Molly Sheehy, it was voted to accept the appointments.

Election of Officers
As part of the Nominating Committee, also consisting of Janet Leggat and Jamie O’Hearn, Chris Samaras reported on the election of officers for the following year:
President                      Bill Lipchitz
Co-Vice-Presidents    Jeanne Osborne, George Villaras                 
Treasurer                     Jamie O’Hearn
Clerk                              Marshall Field
Secretary                      Terry Williams
On a motion by Molly Sheehy, seconded by Joe Lipchitz, it was voted to accept the slate of Officers of the Corporation and to elect them.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Jamie O'HearnTreasurer Jamie O’Hearn reported a current balance of $1,881.  Most members have paid their dues; however there are one or two outstanding.  On a motion by Joe Lipchitz, seconded by Molly Sheehy, it was voted: to accept the Treasurer’s report.

Dues are set each year; this year’s dues are proposed to be set at $50/year for organizations and $15/year for individual memberships.  On a motion by Joe Lipchitz, seconded by Suzzanne Cromwell, it was voted: that the current dues structure be retained at $50.00 for organizational membership and $15 for individual members.

President’s Report
Bill Lipchitz gave an update on developments with the Center City Committee’s website.   There is now a separate section on the website for the Hamilton Canal Project.  A blog has also been developed which will be worked on by a group that will include Anne Ruthmann who has been active in advising the Committee on ways to connect with younger populations in Lowell through the internet.  The CCC website also contains a link to City Manager Bernie Lynch’s blog.  Bill Lipchitz encouraged members to review the Committee’s Annual Report.

Award Presentations
This year the Center City Committee’s awards focus is on the arts as an economic engine.  Awards were given to local people who have been successful in connecting artistic endeavors to increasing the economic activity in downtown Lowell.  Five awards were given to individuals who connected their art to the local economy by staging events in downtown venues, particularly in restaurants or businesses that saw an increase in patrons because of the events.  CCC members nominated the following:

Brett & Suzz Cromwell with City Manager Bernie LynchBrett and Suzzanne Cromwell for the Lowell Film Collaborative - Through partnering with Lowell organizations this organization been very involved in bringing movie events to Lowell.

 

 

Jerry BisantzJerry Bisantz of the Image Theatre Company – The Image Theater Company was formed in Lowell to bring more opportunities to emerging local talents including writers, actors, directors, and composers. 

 

 

 

Brett Fermeglia, Jason Gibbs,  & RC Lations with City Manager LynchJason Gibbs, Brett Fermeglia, and RC Lations of Audio Park Productions – Students at UMass Lowell, these three have been scheduling events at various venues in downtown Lowell for local artists.  They have also been putting their efforts into drawing more students into the downtown through the arts.

 

 

Steve Syverson and City Manager LynchSteve Syverson, owner of Van Gogh’s Gear and active member of the Arts League of Lowell – Steve is the owner of an art supply business in the Downtown and a tireless promoter of the arts in Lowell. He has been very involved in ALL which helps artists find a market for their products.

 

Karl Frey, Developer – Karl renovated mill space for over 180 artist working studios.  A gallery space allows artists to exhibit and sell their art.  Karl is also further developing artist live/work space in another section of the mill complex.

All award recipients thanked the Center City Committee.  Jerry Bisantz spoke about what a great place Lowell is to have a theatre – great venues; people who are interested in theatre.  Steve Syverson accepted the award on behalf of Karl Frey and read an acceptance letter written by Karl, who said that the real award goes to the artists in Lowell, and that he would accept the award on their behalf.

Remarks – City Manager Bernie Lynch
City Manager Bernie LynchBill Lipchitz introduced the City Manager by saying that he has always found time to talk to the Center City Committee and other groups in Lowell, and commended the Manager on his professional approach to the management of the City and his concern for the wellbeing of the downtown.

Bernie Lynch talked about the challenges facing Lowell, in particular its budget.  However, he also stressed that Lowell is in a very good position with State money available to help jumpstart programs.  The Hamilton Canal Project, which is projected to take 10 years to be completed, is now ready to move forward with its funding secured and will break ground on its first building in May.  The New Judicial Center within the HCD is another project that will benefit Lowell.  The JAM area is progressing with its first new tenant in the Early Garage and a possible second tenant very soon.  The Manager also talked about the importance of the trolley system in making Lowell more accessible, and the fact that plans are progressing on that project. 

Manager Lynch also talked about the Downtown Summit the City had organized several years ago and how the City has been following through on issues that were brought up.  More work will be done this summer including work on crosswalks and cobblestone streets.  New street lights will also go in later this year.  The City’s comprehensive branding and marketing strategy is coming to fruition including a new tagline “Alive, Unique, Inspiring”.  The City is also working with the UMass Lowell in attempting to get more students downtown.  An article in Sunday’s Boston Globe Magazine ranked Lowell as a top place for residential real estate, citing the arts and access to public transportation as benefits.

The meeting was then opened to questions from the audience.  Jerry Bisantz talked about the difficulty visitors to the City have, particularly on weekends, getting from Gallagher Station to the downtown.  Bernie agreed and said he would talk to the LRTA and perhaps do a trial bus that would link Gallagher station to events going on downtown.  It was also brought up that if additional busses were implemented, they should be for everyone, not just those going to events.  Steve Syverson mentioned that in the past if additional busses were scheduled during events, they were often not publicized sufficiently and so were not used enough to justify having them.  Bernie Lynch stressed that due to financial constraints; at this point it might be difficult for the LRTA to add busses.  Anne Ruthmann mentioned that many businesses close by 7pm when the busses stop running.  Making Lowell more bike-friendly was also brought up. 

LRTA Director Jim Scanlan, who had just arrived, agreed to discuss these matters in more detail with the Center City Committee.  The end of April would be the best time for him, probably the last Tuesday in April. 

Steve Syverson asked if funds have been set aside for work the City is doing this summer on the downtown.Asst. City Manager Adam Baacke Adam Baacke responded that the City received $125,000 in CDBG funding for work in the downtown and that additional stimulus money should become available.  Adam stated that a large amount of money for the City came from an anonymous donation from a private foundation.  Adam also mentioned that it was a credit to the city that it received funding for the Hamilton Canal, and that Lowell is well-positioned to take advantage of State and Federal funds.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 AM.

Photography by Anne Ruthmann

 

The Next Informal Meeting of the Center City Committee
Will be
Tuesday March 31, 2009
8:30 AM
Olive That & More
167 Market Street

The Next Meeting of the Stakeholder Representatives
Will be
Tuesday April 28, 2009
The MCC Morse Federal Building
East Merrimack Street
8:30 AM

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