EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 17, 2013

Crime down, test scores up under Lantigua? Not so fast...

(Continued)

COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

“Lawrence continued to see strong commercial investment.”

The number of building permits issued for commercial construction was not available last week, but the number of permits – commercial and residential – dropped last year after increasing during each of Lantigua’s first two years in office. The city issued 937 building permits in 2010, up nearly 14 percent. The number of permits issued increased 6 percent in 2011, to 994 permits. The number dropped by the same amount last year, although the city saw several major commercial projects open or break ground. They include an expansion of Commonwealth Motors on Marston Street and a new health studies building that Northern Essex Community College is building on Common Street.

INFRASTRUCTURE

“No other administration has moved more rapidly and cost effectively on public infrastructure improvements than mine.”

Lantigua has never proposed a capital budget, although he recently appointed a committee to develop one. Even without the long, comprehensive vision that capital budgets provide, several significant public works projects are underway in Lawrence, including a $15 million upgrade of the system that treats and distributes seven million gallons of Merrimack River water daily. Under Lantigua, a $2.6 million, 2.5 mile greenway along the Spicket River is nearing completion, 12 years after it was mapped. Under Lantigua, the city’s fleet of garbage trucks were automated – while commercial customers were dropped from garbage routes – and the city partnered with the state to install surveillance cameras at hot spots for illegal dumping. The city paved 43 streets during Lantigua’s first three years – including Boxford Street, where he lives – compared to 16 that were paved in the three years before Lantigua took office. State Chapter 90 aid for road improvements in Lawrence has totaled $4.5 million under Lantigua, up 20 percent from the four-year total before he took office. Like road work, all major infrastructure projects in Lawrence are funded largely by the state and federal governments.

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