Lowell City Council Meeting: October 27, 2015

Motion by Mayor Elliott and Councilor Samaras to form an Opiate Crisis Task Force. Members of Zach’s Team, formed in memory of Zach Gys, a gifted high school athlete who succumbed to his addiction at age 21, speak about the screening of the film “If Only” on November 9 in Lowell. It will be shown during the day at the Vocational School and at Lowell High and in the evening at the Irish Auditorium at Lowell High, to be followed by a panel discussion that evening. Jordan Gys, cousin of the decedent who also happens to be a candidate for the city council, speaks in favor of the motion. On the motion, Councilor Samaras says that every so often a crisis arises that requires an extraordinary response. There are many entities addressing this issue but there could be more coordination among them. Rita Mercier says there has been a lot of talking but not enough action. She says this has to be treated like a war. We have to educate children in elementary school. We have to educate doctors. Says the governor is right on target with his proposal to allow mandatory three day hospitalization for addicts. Mayor Elliott says we need to put at the table to professionals who do this for a living and carry out these tasks. Acknowledges existing task forces of Middlesex DA and Lowell Community Health Center but says this is a Lowell-based effort and not a duplication of existing bureaucracies.

Presentation on Lowell Archival Inventory Report by Mehmed Ali. Commends all the volunteers who helped with the effort, mostly on Saturdays in the attic of City Hall. It took 18 months to compile this inventory and there is much left to do.

Report on Upper Merrimack Street development motion. City Manager Murphy explains that to draw UMass Lowell down Merrimack Street towards downtown, we must focus on improving that neighborhood.

Votes to permit City Manager to transfer parcels in Hamilton Canal District to Watermark Environmental and Genesis Health Care. City Manager gives a presentation to the council. Talks of the importance of the land swap with the National Park which opens the door to the design and construction of a new 900 space parking garage. Craig Thomas says these projects will jump start the entire HCD project. Representatives of both Watermark and Genesis address the council on their plans. Councilors all express their enthusiasm for these projects and the overall momentum of the HCD.

Meeting adjourns at 8:19 pm

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