By Jennifer Myers
“A bridge is a pathway over an obstruction,” Martha Howe said at Tuesday morning’s dedication of the bridge spanning the Merrimack River named in honor of her father, former 40-year City Councilor and four-term Mayor Richard Howe Sr. “For 40 years my father forged pathways over obstructions. He was a voice for those who had no voice. He welcomed confrontation and his opposition. He welcomed debate.”
Richard Howe Sr., 80, grew up on Shaw Street and after graduating from Keith Academy, earned a baseball scholarship to Providence College where he was a star first baseman. He was then drafted into the Army. Following his service, Howe taught in Billerica and in Lowell and earned his law degree from Suffolk University.
In 1965, he was elected to the Lowell City Council, where he remained for 40 years, deciding to retire at the end of 2005. Howe served as Mayor in the 1970-71, 1988-89, 1990-91 and 1994-95 terms.
UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan pointed out that to Richard Howe, being Mayor of Lowell was never just ceremonial.
In 1987, when the federal government was threatening to take over the city’s schools, Howe convinced the judge to give him time to pull together a plan. He put together a team that led to the building of 10 new schools in the city and kept the district out of the clutches of the feds.
Howe supported and pushed for the preservation of the city’s historic structures, for the construction of the Tsongas Arena and LeLacheur Park, and helped pave the way for the Cross Point Towers to be reborn following the demise of Wang.
He was a big-picture thinker who was never afraid to ruffle a few feathers if it meant standing up for what he believed to be right and in the best interest of the city.
Meehan and City Manager Bernie Lynch talked about what a crucial project the new bridge is for both the university and the city, connecting North Campus with East Campus and the upper Merrimack Street corridor, a connection that will increase economic development activity and continue the revitalization of upper Merrimack Street.
On the North Campus (Pawtucketville) said of the bridge is the university’s $83 million Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center. On the East Campus (Acre) side of the bridge sits the still-under-construction $100 million University Crossing student union building.
“Dick Howe Sr. served the city with distinction, with integrity,” said Lynch. “His contributions have made the city what it is today.”
In addition to Meehan, Lynch and Mayor Patrick Murphy, others who attended the ceremony included: State Reps. Tom Golden, Kevin Murphy and Dave Nangle; the entire City Council; former Mayor and City Councilor-elect Jim Milinazzo, Former Mayor Bud Caulfield and former City Councilor Kevin Broderick; and former City Manager
At Tuesday’s ceremony, Mayor Patrick Murphy presented the following citation:
C I T A T I O N
Be it hereby known to all that
the City of Lowell in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
is pleased to honor former Mayor Richard P. Howe Sr. upon the dedication of the
RICHARD P. HOWE SR. BRIDGE
in recognition of his outstanding service and dedication to the city of Lowell, having served 40 years on the City Council, including four terms as Mayor.
In his January 1970 Inaugural Address, Mayor Howe stated: “The challenge confronting each of us today is to return Lowell to its former position as a leader; to re-establish this city as one with a future and not just a past.”
A leader known for his integrity, the contributions of Richard P. Howe Sr. over more than four decades, were integral to bringing the city to where it is today – back to its position as a leader among mid-sized cities. Never afraid to speak his mind regardless of the consequences, Mayor Howe always firmly stood by what he believed was in the best interest of the city and of all Lowellians.
The entire City of Lowell is proud to honor Richard P. Howe Sr., for his service.
Given this 19th day of November, 2013.
Patrick Ó. Murphy
Rodney M. Elliott
Edward J. Kennedy, Jr.
John J. Leahy
Martin E. Lorrey
William F. Martin, Jr.
Rita M. Mercier
Vesna E. Nuon
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