State agency backs field replication for Cawley Stadium school site

Murphy: “Comments were very positive.”

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BOSTON — The option for a new high school at Cawley Stadium in Lowell remains alive after officials from a state agency said they supported the city’s fields replication plan on Friday.

In a face-to-face meeting, officials from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs backed the city’s plan to replace the athletic fields if a new high school is built at Cawley. The fields at Cawley are protected by conservation restrictions, under Article 97 of the state constitution, and in order to remove those protections Lowell must replicate the open space elsewhere.

The city and state agency will now work on the final legal language before sending the replication plan to the Legislature.

“Their comments were very positive,” City Manager Kevin Murphy said Friday afternoon. “They said they approved of this plan, and will work with us on the language to get it through.”

One of the key replication sites is on Manning Road, and crosses over the Chelmsford town line. There are currently two baseball fields there, which Lowell plans to improve and offer up for conservation protection. Another field, for lacrosse or field hockey, would also be constructed, along with nature trails and expanded parking lots, according to the city’s preliminary plan.

The work would require reviews by the Lowell Planning Board, Lowell Conservation Commission, Chelmsford Conservation Commission, and possibly the Lowell Cemetery Commission.

Chelmsford Town Manager Paul Cohen has said the town has no concerns, adding that Lowell would simply follow the normal approval process.


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