This project is part of an ongoing effort
to address the lack of seating and retiring space for use
by the public and employees at the Superior Courthouse. Work
is well underway to create seating areas within theme gardens.
A Beautification Committee was formed by courthouse employees
as a result of the Keep Lowell Beautiful Project. A landscape
architect, hired through a grant from the Lowell Garden Club,
designed a blueprint for the garden and planting areas. The
Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust donated several trees
as well as flowering ornaments designated in the design. The
committee also worked with the American Cancer Society to
develop an employee's memory garden. Building on a history
of participating in the Cancer Society's Daffodil Days campaign,
a perennial bed of daffodils and Rembrandt tulips was created.
Tree benches were constructed by the students at the Greater
Lowell Regional Vocational School. Probation provided community
service workers for much of the clean up work. In July, a
series of breakfast meetings began for the employees and the
public. Judge Peter M. Lauriat spoke on the first of four
topics, "Take me out to the Ball Game: Profanity in Public
Areas and the Law on the Books." Baseball tickets for the
Lowell Spinners were available to the first 50 who signed
up. Breakfast gatherings will be held quarterly, with topics
to be announced. This program is designed to further the objective
to "re-invent justice" and to become more community friendly.
A Fall planting of trees and bulbs is scheduled for October
The project has had a far reaching impact
on the employees and community. Joint participation of the
community and the employees with a rooted commitment to the
project has opened roads of communication that were not easily
traversed. It has helped employees respond more openly to
fellow workers while giving them an opportunity to enjoy the
confines of their business place during working hours. The
project has increased the awareness of the environment, has
created a venue for putting concerns "on the table" and in
small part has decreased the "attitude" that was so commonly
referred to as the non approachable state worker.
Employees, the public conducting daily
business at the court, and the neighbors whose property surround
the courthouse are now able to enjoy the tree seating and
picnic tables that were built for use on the courthouse grounds.
An Arbor Day celebration that included 300 of the general
public, employees and invited guests was held to officially
open and celebrate the beginning of an on going collaborative
with numerous organizations. The goal was to create beautiful
gardens with a variety of horticulture, educational programs
and annual celebrations. A collaborative between employees
and the American Cancer Society introduced the employee memory
garden. A garden will be created by planting King Alfred Daffodil
bulbs, the symbol of hope purchased from the American Cancer
Society in lieu of the 10 blossoms that are sold during the
Month of March signifying Daffodil Days. The employee memory
garden will have 2001 bulbs planted by the Spring of 2002
and will be supplemented with Rembrandt tulips in honor of
employees that retired or passed away while in public service
to the Commonwealth.
A collaborative with the employees and
the Lowell Garden Club has been created to use the courthouse
beautification project as a civic development project and
initiate programs for the community. The Garden Club has committed
its organization to support the ongoing restoration of the
grounds and will participate in the implementation of future
horticultural events and education for the public. Several
awards have been present to the Garden Club and the Courthouse
Beautification Committee for their efforts in civic and community
This joint effort by the Committee and
the employees has reached out to the community by offering
the use of the developed space as a "good neighbor" initiative.
The elderly enjoy their afternoon while sitting on the tree
benches under the cool shade of the ancient linden trees and
maples. Families enjoy weekend "cookouts" at the picnic tables
and the youth of the families are able to play on the grounds
in sight of their parents lessening the anxiety of the children
to get caught up in gang activity prevalent in the neighborhood.
The local police keep a daily routine check on the property
and the youth as they gather on the grounds, in the hours
when the courthouse is not open for business. Much of the
concern for the project was that the youth would destroy the
grounds, but this project has proven the doubters decidedly
wrong. Neighbors and families help to keep it clean, while
respecting the use of the property.
The success of this program has been far
reaching. The Committee has accomplished its initial objectives,
has addressed and alleviated some of the space issues, and
most importantly, it has provided a workplace more conducive
to interacting positively with the public. The Committee continues
to offer employees a venue to vent, suggest and participate.
It has also begun to create innovative programing through
a series "breakfast forums" on topics that are of public interest.
Future forums will be sponsored in part by the Lowell Garden
Club and hosted by the employees. A flyer with the series
schedule is being planned and will be made available in mid
July. The underlying theme of lectures will be to educate
and inspire the participants to become knowledgeable on the
court's resources, how it applies to society and specifically
to them and then to take that knowledge and share that information
in their own homes. The purpose is to establish a friendlier
relationship between workers and the public, to disarm the
"non approachable" state worker image, and to create a healthier
The themes will be as diverse as:
* Why Compost? What's in it for me- I
live in asphalt jungle!
*The Homestead Act For Your Protection
and Your Family, sponsored by the Registry of Deeds;
*Butterflies and Their Gardens Even in
Your Window Box!
*Things That Crawl...Endangered Native
Species: Their Usefulness and the Law That Protects them.
*RECYCLE - It's for US (United States)
and the World.
The program was developed to succeed. It was developed first
with a Committee that believed and was wholly committed to the
success of the project. Its members could envision its potential
and was able to remain positive when at times it appeared that
exterior dissension over the project would ultimately chip away
at the plan and result in frustration and non-productivity.
Secondly, enthusiasm for the project was
transmitted into the community and it helped build the foundation
necessary to succeed. Finally, the hands-on implementation
of the programs were discussed and realization of the small
successes over each and every aspect maintained the support
to achieve the committees goals.
Our Beautification Program has a solid
foundation, it is respected and supported by local and state
administration, and many organizations throughout the City
of Lowell. Although it is in its infancy it has already received
several awards for its civic contribution due largely in part
to its being created as a sustainable, multi-diversified project.
We will continue to maintain all that has been created, seek
further support from community organizations that have resources
sustain our project, apply for grants,
and create workable programs for the employees and community.
Further, the neighborhood and the Back Central Street Neighborhood
Organization have embraced this project and many of the nuisances
that were a re-occurring problem have ceased, through intervention,
education, and participation.