The view of the massive brick mills is the first place visitors encounter the scene of Lowell as America’s most significant planned industrial city. Nearby Swamp Locks, one of most distinctive features in the city, was named after the wetlands that were formed by the confluence of canal segments.
Today’s parking lots are slated to give way to available building parcels and additional open space opportunities. The City has an ambitious economic development plan for the area, of which several key projects have been completed.
Recent developments include:
- UMass Lowell Innovation Hub (iHub) and Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) located at 110 Canal Street
- The Lowell Justice Center, a LEED Platinum building housing Superior, District, Probate & Family, Juvenile, and Housing Courts of Middlesex County.
- HCID Parking Facility with 900 total parking spaces
The Lord’s Overpass, referred to as the “Gateway of Lowell, is currently undergoing a major reconstruction to support the development of the HCID, designed for multimodal transportation. When complete, this new intersection will be the HCID’s ‘front-door’, welcoming thousands of people a day to the area.
Utopia Park, 0.4 acres of open, park space in the HCID, has shown potential for events including food trucks, performers, and more. In 2019, a new public art piece was welcomed to the park. Nancy Selvage’s ‘Hydro’ creates a playful, interactive experience for children to explore flowing water swirling through a turbine.
Learn more about the Hamilton Canal Innovation District at the official City of Lowell site.
Lowell Waterways Vitality Initiative Priorities
On September 1, 2016, the Lowell Waterways Vitality Initiative, Lowell Heritage Partnership, City officials, and community collaborators produced a spectacular one-night lighting display of the Swamp Locks complete with entertainment, food trucks, and artwork that reinforced the site’s potential.
The HCID remains a focus area of the Waterways Vitality Initiative Action Plan. Some of our short-term priorities include:
- Permanent lighting of the Swamp Locks and gatehouse
- Collaborate with the City, National Park, and other community partners to preserve green space and sight lines to the Industrial Canyon
- Illuminate public works of art, including the Hydro sculpture
The Action Plan also includes a variety of aspirational goals and priorities, installation of water features, additional permanent and temporary art pieces to complement the historic mill structures, and the expansion of boat tours – including possible commercial use.