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Community Encouraged to Attend Forums Exploring Feasibility of Cultural Center in Lawrence

by Ernie Greenslade, Northern Essex Community College

A Catholic Church in Lawrence that has been empty for more than two decades may become a community cultural center, and organizers are looking for your input.

Northern Essex Community College and the City of Lawrence are working with The Paramount Development Group to explore the possibility of restoring and revitalizing the historic St. Anne’s Church and St. Anne’s Parish Hall located on Haverhill St.   The partnership has recently engaged Don Hirsch Design Studio, LLC, a theatre consulting firm, to create a comprehensive plan for the restoration and sustainable operation of the center.

The first step will be a series of community forums that are free and opened to the public.   The goal of the forums is to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead and how the center may best contribute to the Greater Lawrence community.

Forums will be held

  • Tuesday, January 28 at 6-7:30pm

  • Wednesday, January 29 at 8:30-10am

  • Wednesday, January 29 at 2-3:30pm

  • Thursday, January 30 at 12-1:30pm

at the Northern Essex Community College Allied Health & Technology Center, 414 Common Street, Lawrence, MA, Room 301.  To reserve a seat at one of the forums, contact Don Hirsch Design Studio, LLC at  or  802-233-9623.

“This could be a great addition to Lawrence, and, if it’s financially feasible, the college wants to be a part of it,” said Lane Glenn.  “Right now, there are few options in Lawrence to hold cultural events, and many organizations that are interested in bringing in talent and speakers, including Northern Essex.”

St. Anne’s Parish was one of the earliest French-Canadian parishes in New England.   It opened in 1873 and was closed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 1991, due to a decline in church attendance and membership.   It continued to serve a Latino Roman Catholic congregation in the early 1990’s and the Parish Hall was used for an after-school program until approximately 1999.  Since then, the building has been vacant.


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