JEERS to public infrastructure left to disrepair, which has inconvenienced hundreds of people with court business in Lawrence as well as families living in the Museum Square apartments.
The infrastructure in question is the Museum Square garage. Its condition was so unstable, as staff writer Jill Harmacinski reported, the city recently closed it and towed out the cars left parked inside. “There are parts of the garage that are structurally unsound,” Mayor Daniel Rivera explained to Harmacinski.
The 412-space garage serves the Fenton Judicial Center and thus is a parking location for people visiting Lawrence District Court, probate court, housing court or the probation office. It’s also a short walk from City Hall and Superior Court. More than half its spaces are allotted for use by tenants of the 176-unit Museum Square apartments.
And, as Harmacisnki explained, the 32-year-old structure has been sliding into disrepair. Rivera noted an analysis last year that found problems throughout the garage. Before its most recent issues, some two-dozen spaces were unusable. Now, the city needs to pour $4 million into the garage in order to open it again.
Problems with the garage — forcing court officers, lawyers, Museum Square residents and citizens to find alternate parking — did not emerge overnight. Clearly such structural concerns are years in the making, and addressing them left incomplete until the entire garage was unusable.
Whether this is due to lack of foresight or an unwillingness to pay for the garage’s upkeep, the result is an embarrassment for the city.
CHEERS to homecomings. One of Andover’s most famous sons was spotted this past weekend while visiting the area for a show in New Hampshire.
Comedian Jay Leno, host of “The Tonight Show” for 22 years until his retirement in 2014, recently reminisced with Eagle-Tribune reporter Terry Date about growing up in Andover, his career in comedy and how he hasn’t really retired. He still hosts “Jay Leno’s Garage,” a program about classic cars, and performs about 150 stand-up shows a year.
Leno, who lived in Ballardvale and graduated from Andover High with the class of 1968, still has a fondness for the town. When in the area, he visits friends and old hang-outs. He still has a house here, as well as one in Rhode Island, where he stays when he’s back in New England.
So maybe it should come as little surprise that Leno, who had a show the other night at the Casino Ballroom in Hampton, was spotted around town this past weekend, including at Memorial Hall Library. The library posted a handful of photos to its social media accounts of Leno chatting with patrons and posing with the staff.
No word on whether he was returning long-overdue items or settling up fines, but judging from the comments, it's clear Leno is always welcome back in his hometown.
Finally, a CHEERS to great endings.
The Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team won a national title the other day, defeating the Saints from Limestone College at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, 16-8. That accomplishment is noteworthy enough.
This one is particularly special because it caps the end of the college’s status of a Division II school. Beginning next fall Merrimack's teams will move into Division I, joining its men and women’s hockey programs, which already play at the top level of college athletics.
The transition into Division I and the Northeast Conference require a four-year hiatus from postseason play, which limits the aspirations of current Merrimack athletes. So, for all members of the lacrosse team, this season represented their last possible chance to contend for a national title.
“It’s been a message all year,” coach Mike Morgan explained to sports writer Mike McMahon. “Once we announced D-I, I told our guys that they’re all seniors. This is everyone’s last chance, and everything’s at stake.”
Winning the NCAA championship — which required the Warriors to avenge a NE-10 Conference championship loss to Le Moyne — means Merrimack has now repeated as national champions. The Warriors won last year’s trophy by beating the lions from St. Leo University in a match at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. They'd appeared in the national championship a year earlier, losing to Limestone.
Congratulations to the Warriors on a memorable season, and here's to their future success playing at the next level.