After working its way through a stack of requests from neighbors and city officials, the plan to rebuild the Dillons store on Massachusetts Street is back on the Lawrence City Commission agenda for final approval tonight.
Company officials have worked hard to address many concerns about this store, and their project should receive the city’s enthusiastic support.
It’s possible to find fault with just about any plan, but the proposal to rebuild this store represents a vast improvement over the existing store. The new Dillons will add many amenities, such as a drive-up pharmacy window and an outdoor dining area. These are services that will be an asset to the central city neighborhoods the store has served for many years.
Of course, it isn’t easy to fit everything Dillons wanted on such a limited footprint. The city was right to work with the store on reduced setback requirements and other compromises to allow Dillons to expand at its current site. Having the store closer to the street and facing north will take some getting used to, but the company has put considerable effort into landscaping, awnings, faux window recesses and other measures to make the exterior of the building attractive. Various barriers also have been added to protect neighbors from any unsightly exterior views.
Dillons has been working for many months to accommodate various requests and concerns from city officials and neighbors. Many companies might have just thrown up their hands and moved their store to another location entirely. The fact that Dillons continued to work through this process confirms the company’s commitment to Lawrence and particularly to serving the central part of the city.
It’s time to reward that commitment and effort and allow the construction phase to get under way.