Three Lynn agencies join up for overview

March 21, 2012
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

Three city agencies came together Tuesday to give city officials and residents an overview of recent and future developments taking place in the city.

“I pushed for this meeting so everyone would know what’s going on,” said Ward 7 Councilor Rick Ford who also sits on the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Board. “There are a lot of positives going on in the city, a lot of good stuff.”

EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell joined representatives from the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development and Community Development to tout various programs and projects and a number of successes.

“There are two areas we primarily focus on,” said Cowdell. “The downtown and the waterfront.”

Cowdell said a lot of progress has been made in revamping the downtown since the area was rezoned from industrial to residential several year ago. That paved the way to turn defunct industrial building into housing for thus far 250 new residents Cowdell said. EDIC has also had a hand in helping the Lynn Community Health Center expand, bringing Willow Lab downtown, and it supported the new Visiting Nurses Association building on Broad Street. New projects include turning the old Arnold Stationary Store at 33 Central St. into artist living/work space and putting tenants in 14 Central St., which stood empty for nearly a decade but is now 60 percent occupied, Cowdell said.

On the waterfront side Cowdell said, “Five years ago no one was talking about the waterfront. In the last five years we’ve put together a strategic plan, we’ve moved the power lines and developed a municipal harbor plan. Now everyone’s talking about the waterfront.”

Cowdell said EDIC has also given out over $2 million in loans to local businesses, which has resulted in the creation of 89 jobs and the retention of 310 jobs.

Norm Cole, director of Planning and Development for LHAND said a first-time home buyers program was able to put 32 families in homes. Efforts, Homeless Prevention & Rapid Rehousing (HPRP), Supportive Housing Program and Regional Housing Initiatives have helped hundreds of families stay in their homes or relocate. He said 459 households alone were helped through HPRP grants.

Peggy Phelps also from LHAND’s Planning and Development Department talked about future projects that include a veterans housing initiative and the Washington Street Gateway Project, which would link the downtown to the waterfront.

Community Development Director James Marsh also discussed waterfront access along with a potential $4.6 million rehab of Wyoma Square and rebuilding the field at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute.

Marsh said his office is also responsible for rehabbing High Rock Tower, the City Hall Auditorium, Flax Pond and Goldfish Pond, all through grants. Community Development also helps fund summer jobs and movies under the stars as well.

Chris Stevens can be reached at



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