UMass Lowell to Buy Tsongas Arena

Paul E. Tsongas Arena in Lowell

Concert and sporting events at Tsongas Arena in Lowell.

UMass Lowell and city of Lowell, Massachusetts reach deal for Tsongas Arena

Lowell, MA. – UMass Lowell is on its way to owning the Tsongas Arena.

At the arena this evening, prior to a Hockey East matchup between the eighth-ranked UMass Lowell River Hawks and the fourth-ranked Boston University Terriers, Chancellor Marty Meehan, Lowell City Manager Bernie Lynch and state Sen. Steven C. Panagiotakos announced details of a purchase-and-sale agreement under which the university would take ownership of the arena. They were joined by other city and state elected officials and members of the UMass Lowell community. Lynch, Meehan and UMass President Jack Wilson were to complete execution of the agreement (which already had been signed by UMass Building Authority Executive Director David MacKenzie) later at an on-ice ceremony.

“For us, this is about making UMass Lowell a place where students want to be. We have increased enrollment substantially and now have nearly 3,000 students living in university housing,” said Chancellor Marty Meehan. “The arena will help us provide the array of activities and events necessary to keep them engaged and happy – important ingredients for ensuring that students succeed academically.” He pointed out that universities with Division I sports programs, as UMass Lowell has for hockey, have campus arenas.

“Almost 12 years ago, the city forged a unique partnership with the university and the Commonwealth to bring a mid-sized concert and performance venue to Lowell. The Tsongas Arena is on the map regionally and nationally because of our stewardship of it. Now, we look forward to the arena’s next phase,” Lynch said.

“This agreement is good for Lowell and good for UMass Lowell,” said Panagiotakos of Lowell, who brokered an agreement between the city and the university. “This will be a major asset and resource for the university and a major savings for Lowell taxpayers.”

The university’s benefits from the agreement include:

  • The $24 million 6,500-seat arena, debt free;
  • The 3-acre parcel adjacent to the arena, to be developed as a commercial property in a way that complements the arena;
  • The surrounding park and grounds, which will now be available for a broad range of campus activities;
  • Year-round use of an arena for university events;
  • Increased opportunities to generate new revenues;
  • Easier and more cost-effective use of the facility.

Benefits to the city of Lowell include:

  • $800,000;
  • No further responsibility for running the arena and covering its costs, which have been up to $1.3 million a year;
  • The opportunity to conduct five annual events;
  • Ice time for public use at cost;
  • A university-owned parcel of land on Pawtucket Boulevard.

The university, through the UMass Building Authority, is committed to $5 million in capital improvements to create a more vibrant event experience and enhance revenues.

Before the university would own the facility and grounds outright, the Lowell City Council must pass a home-rule petition. The state Legislature would need to pass the petition, which would then be sent to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature. Both the university and city expect that the transfer will be completed in January.

In investigating the feasibility of ownership, UMass Lowell had identified examples of similarly sized university-owned arenas that operate at no net cost to the institution. UMass Lowell is the only team in the Division I Hockey East conference that does not own its ice arena.

Under university management, the arena would continue to offer the same quality events as in past years, including UMass Lowell and AHL-affiliated Lowell Devils hockey, other sporting events, and family shows and concerts, with plans to deliver more events and a wider range of performances.

At the same time, the arena would be more readily available for campus events and activities. In addition to River Hawk hockey games, student-based events that have been held at the arena for a fee – such as the annual Open House and Commencement – would now be seamless campus undertakings. New UMass Lowell uses could include campus-wide convocations, alumni and fundraising events, orientation activities, offices for some campus functions, and as a hub for the weekend-long fall homecoming series of activities and performances.

The arena is located adjacent to UMass Lowell’s largest cluster of student housing. The immediate area also features LeLacheur Park, home to River Hawk baseball and other student-centered events during the school year, as well as UMass Lowell’s Campus Recreation Center. The arena will help solidify the area as a nexus for student activities.

Together with the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center at the Lower Locks complex downtown, the arena also will help integrate UMass Lowell students into the heart of the city, benefitting both students and downtown business establishments.

“Transferring ownership of the Tsongas Arena to UMass Lowell will ultimately benefit everyone who lives, works, learns and finds enjoyment in the city,” Meehan said.

The Tsongas Arena opened in January 1998. Its construction was funded with $20 million from the state, $4 million from UMass Lowell and $4 million from the city of Lowell. The arena was recently assessed at $24 million.

UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region.. UML offers its 13,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.

Fourth of July Fireworks in Lowell

Lowell fireworks

Independence Day fireworks July 3 in Lowell. (Source)

City of Lowell to hold July 3 fireworks show, sponsored by local businesses

Lowell, MA. – During these difficult economic times the country and all of us are facing, the city of Lowell, Massachusetts debated whether the government could afford to hold its annual Independence Day celebration with a fireworks display. The cost of a fireworks show is around $45,000, and that money can be used for other, more important needs. After many internal discussions, the city decided it could not pay for a fireworks display, and it turned to the local business community to help the show go on – and the community responded positively.

With the assistance of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation’s fundraising efforts, Lowell’s fireworks will take place after dark on July 3, 2009 at Sampas Pavilion weather permitting. One of the biggest supporters of this years Independence Day fireworks celebration is the Lowell Cooperative Bank, which donated $5,000 towards the event.

In addition to the fireworks display, students from Lowell High School’s Band will be performing an entertaining (and FREE) “pops” concert. Led by Band Director Brandon Clark, the LHS Band will play on the riverside stage before the fireworks at 7pm. Parents of band members will be selling refreshments at the event to help raise money to purchase new band uniforms. Lots of activities for children will take place between 4-7pm on the third. More information about the celebration can be found on the Lowell City Manager’s website.

This is going to be a great event for the entire family!

Homeowners Foreclosure Prevention Workshop in Lowell

Foreclosure Prevention

Work with lenders to prevent foreclosures in Lowell, Mass.

Massachusetts Homeowners: Get Help Now to Save Your Home

Lowell, MA. Join Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration and the city of Lowell they bring together mortgage lenders and homeowners from Greater Lowell and the Merrimack Valley on April 2. The event’s objective is to give local homeowners the opportunity to work out new mortgage terms and provide educational seminars in an effort to stem local home foreclosures.

Homeowners are encouraged to meet one-on-one with mortgage lenders to discuss home loan
modifications and alternatives in order to prevent foreclosure. Consumer credit counselors and local housing officials will also be available to answer questions and provide assistance to those in need. Multi-lingual counselors will be in attendance.

Educational seminars focusing on foreclosure prevention will be held during the day, and homeowners who may be facing foreclosure are encouraged to attend. Residents of Lowell and surrounding towns are invited to this workshop.

This free event is underwritten and co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs Office, the city of Lowell, and Lowell neighborhood association, Coalition for a Better Acre. For more information about the workshop, please call (978) 452-7523 or visit www.mass.gov/foreclosure.

Workshop Information

Thursday, April 2, 2009
2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Registration closes at 7:00 p.m.

Doubletree Hotel
50 Warren Street
Lowell, MA 01852

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