"LAWRENCE — The cold and uninviting gray box of a building that even its owner – the city of Lawrence – admits is one of downtown's ugliest will be covered in a colorful and uplifting mural affirming the city's immigrant history under a $100,000 project the city and several co-sponsors announced Wednesday.
The new face of the Buckley parking garage and bus depot on Common Street will be the first off the ground among the dozens of urban renewal projects proposed in a plan written by the city's Redevelopment Authority and endorsed by the City Council that are intended to steer the next wave of development in the city.
The projects – including lighting up the three bridges over the Merrimack River, building a performance stage in Pemberton State Park and designing an architectural facelift for the commercial corridor along Essex Street – propose a significantly different strategy for restoring life to Lawrence's downtown and the ring of mills that surround it compared to the last renewal plan of the 1950s and '60s. Under the earlier plan, neighborhoods were bulldozed, downtown blocks were razed and landmarks — including the granite neoclassical Post Office on Essex Street — were demolished with the promise of something better. Instead, the effort left behind mostly parking lots, fast-food restaurants and a failed mall. The new renewal plan emphasizes preservation over demolition.
“What Lawrence is today is not what it was yesterday, nor is it what it will be tomorrow,” Evan Silverio, the chairman of the Redevelopment Authority, told the 60 or so business leaders, government officials and community activists who attended an unveiling of the design for the garage facade at Northern Essex Community College's El-Hefni building, which opened two years ago on the site of the failed mall. Silverio said the mural that will cover the Buckley garage “will be a symbol of hope for our children, an example to follow for our neighbors and a beautiful landmark for the residents of Lawrence.” "
Read the Full Article in the Eagle Tribune to learn more about this exciting new project. If you would like to contribute to the cost of the mural, visit https://www.patronicity.com/project/partnership_for_the_buckley