To the editor:
There’s been no neighbor opposition to a new store on Dillons' Massachusetts Street property. Everyone wants a new store yesterday. Neighbors also are not responsible for the pace of the approval process. It’s been slow because Dillons proposed site plan was complicated and required three individual boards/commissions to approve features outside city code.
While the Barker Neighborhood completely supports a new Dillons store, many of us do have concerns about the proposed site plan and believe it’s best to address them while we can. The property was developed in the early ’60s, before Lawrence created development codes. It’s lasted 50 years and, for too many of those years, has been a liability to Barker’s environment, street safety and property values. The new store must reverse that. It’s not only time for a new day for Dillons. Barker must have a new day, too.
Those of us working on these issues understand we will not get our dream — which would be a different plan, with a store facing Massachusetts Street, the drive-through pharmacy contained within the parking lot and no loading dock on Massachusetts Street. Thankfully, the slower process has allowed for several meetings between Dillons, neighbors and city staff, and we’re beginning to see positive results.
The new Dillons’ impact will reach far beyond new food, jobs, walls and landscaping. We hope Dillons/Kroger’s will demonstrate real commitment to the success of Lawrence’s in-town communities by continuing to work with neighbors toward a win-win for all.