LAWRENCE — Plans are well underway to build a new, $58 million police station across from the old station on Lowell Street.
Years ago, when that Lowell Street property was up for grabs, City Councilor David Abdoo felt strongly the city should get that land.
Especially, he said, where it was located across from the police station, right next to Lawrence Fire Headquarters and both buildings “were in horrible shape.”
“It was important to me to secure that when it became available to the city council ... We didn’t have a purpose for it then. But it just made so much sense,” Abdoo said.
Lawrence would later receive $49 million from the state to build a new police station at that location.
“I am very proud of that,” said Abdoo.
After more than 20 years of service to the city, Abdoo, 54, has stepped off the City Council.
A longtime city councilor in District E, South Lawrence, Abdoo did not run for re-election in November.
His successor, Stefany Infante, is scheduled to be sworn into office, among a host of other councilors and School Committee members, during a ceremony this coming Monday night.
A Lawrence native, Abdoo has only left the city a couple of times — to serve in the military and to go to college.
He tried to relocate to Florida once when he was younger but chuckled as he recalled returning to Lawrence after three months when his savings ran out.
In 1998, then Mayor Patricia Dowling appointed Abdoo to the Merrimack Planning Task Force.
Abdoo would later serve on the city’s Planning Board before his tenure as a City Councilor.
In 2009, he was among 10 candidates for Lawrence mayor. He made it to the final election but was defeated by William Lantigua.
Planning, economic development and quality of life issues were his top issues while serving as a city councilor, he said.
Construction of the new police station, improvement of city parks and recovery from the Merrimack Valley Gas Disaster in 2018 — which severely impacted his South Lawrence district — were all priorities.
But as he steps away, Abdoo noted the city still has many priorities that need to be addressed, including creation of a Master Plan, crumbling city schools, housing issues and a constant need for increased police, firefighters, inspectors and educators.
“We have to address the big picture in Lawrence piece by piece,” he said.
Quality of life issues in Lawrence, he noted, are predicated by effective planning and economic development.
Fellow councilor Marc Laplante, who represents District F, described Abdoo as a good friend and someone he’s enjoyed serving with.
“Dave’s life has been a life of service,” Laplante said. “In addition to representing his neighbors in District E, he also served in the military and continued other public service stints with the state and federal government.”
Laplante noted in the council chambers, Abdoo “was quick to try to find compromises or resolutions to difficult topics. He also managed an extremely high number of communications through social media, emails, texts and phone calls to assist residents.”
“In the City Council, he was the standard to achieve. We are grateful to his contributions and we will certainly miss him on the council,” Laplante said.
Abdoo, who is the chief of staff for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, said he has no plans at this time to pursue higher office. He and his wife Stephanie have two children — Elizabeth, 21, and Michael, 19.
He plans to remain involved in Lawrence in various capacities and he didn’t rule out a future return to the city council.
“I’m not totally close-minded to it,” Abdoo said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.