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Archive for February 6th, 2013

Due to the impeding snow storm, WinterFest has been postponed to February 22nd through February 23rd.  Further details to follow.  Bundle up and stay warm this weekend!

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Residential Energy Efficiency Partnership between the City and Next Step Living Means Real Savings for Lowell Homeowners!

Over 1,100 Lowell residents have already signed up for Mass Save Home Energy assessments and 490 have now completed the no-cost inspection with Next Step Living. Attractive aspects of two hour assessment include: free compact fluorescent lights, free installation of a programmable thermostat, free installation of low flow shower heads and faucet aerators. All of these improvements mean instant energy savings for homeowners.

Of the homeowners who completed the energy assessments – 102 chose to take additional weatherization steps covered under the Mass Save Program that resulted in significant additional energy cost savings. The Mass Save Program now covers 75% (up to $2000 off) of the cost of additional insulation added to the home, generous rebates for high efficiency heating and hot water equipment and 0% financing offered through the HEAT Loan Program on eligible energy efficiency improvements.

Annual savings for all of the Lowell homeowners who participated is estimated at over $70,000 with over 5,500 compact fluorescent lights installed and 99 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided. The carbon offset of the effort in Lowell so far is equal to 2500 trees growing for 10 years.

To schedule a Home Energy Assessment with Next Step Living please call 866.867.8729 or visit our website by clicking here.

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Through the work of MassInc, with support from municipal and state officials, Massachusetts is beginning to recognize the vital role that Gateway Cities like Lowell play in the health of the Commonwealth.  Perhaps even more importantly, these mid-sized cities have the potential to serve as drivers of economic development for the state in the coming decades.  As large segments of the Millennial and Baby Boom generations migrate to urban locations, leading businesses are increasingly focusing their growth in the places where they can find highly talented Millennial workers.   The increasing allure of urban places has caused many developers in southern and western states to attempt to recreate traditional downtowns and walkable neighborhoods where none historically existed.  Massachusetts however enjoys truly authentic historic urban places throughout the Commonwealth in its Gateway Cities, which provide the state with a significant potential comparative advantage.

However, two major challenges hinder the state’s ability to unlock the true potential of its Gateway Cities as economic engines.   First, education policies must be reformed to address the systemic socio-economic conditions which artificially and, in many cases, undeservedly diminish the reputation of public schools in the Gateway Cities.  Second, state action is needed to combat market conditions in the Gateway Cities that complicate and in many cases prevent major economic development projects that could radically transform those markets from attaining viability.  

MassInc has recently released a report documenting both the opportunities for and challenges to implementing truly transformative real estate development projects in the Gateway Cities.  The report also serves as a call to action, identifying specific steps that should be taken to help stimulate the significant economic development potential in the Gateway Cities through carefully targeted investments and technical assistance.  MassInc has also launched a Gateway Cities education reform initiative.

Lowell stands to benefit greatly from these efforts and has actively supported and informed this work.  City Manager Lynch and Assistant City Manager Adam Baacke, along with Mayors Caulfield, Milinazzo, and Murphy have all been engaged with MassInc’s Gateway Cities initiatives.  Lowell’s state delegation has also signed on to cosponsor House Bill 3318, the legislation that has been proposed to begin to implement the Gateway Cities Transformative Investments Program.  We look forward to working with them toward passing this important legislation which can help advance the Hamilton Canal District, ongoing Downtown revitalization, neighborhood stabilization, and the reinvention of the Tanner Street corridor.

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