News Flash


Posted on: February 28, 2023

CDC Awards $30,000 to Lowell Community Health Center to Advance REACH LoWELL Program


LOWELL, Mass., February 28, 2023 -- The City of Lowell’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is continuing its partnership with the Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC) to accept a $30,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to advance and expand LCHC’s REACH LoWELL Program.

REACH LoWELL, led by LCHC, seeks to reduce health disparities among the Southeast Asian and Hispanic/LatinX communities. The program includes culturally-tailored health promotion activities, specifically aimed at increasing physical activity and access to healthier foods in the community; and increased community-wide education, with the goal of boosting knowledge of health care systems.

“The built environment is one of the factors contributing to negative health outcomes, and was a key influence on our perspective,” said Camilo Espitia, Deputy Director of DPD. “The Planning Team approached this initiative through a lens of increasing physical activity by addressing mobility and open space challenges unique to the community.”

2023 marks the third year of partnership between DPD and LCHC in support of REACH LoWELL, and the team has seen remarkable results, including:

  • Extensive community outreach that resulted in a Cambodia Town Neighborhood Improvement Plan
  • Walking audit to identify pedestrian mobility challenges along the Branch Street Corridor
  • Repainted crosswalks at the intersections of School and Branch, School and Middlesex, Smith and Branch, and in front of the Boys and Girls Club
  • Centerline and shoulder striping completed on School, Wilder, Thorndike, Branch, Westford, and Middlesex streets to discourage speeding and improve parking trends and deter sidewalk parking
  • A new ADA-accessible crosswalk, along with repaired sidewalks to address food insecurity by improving access to Bayon Market
  • New pedestrian and vehicular signage for additional safety along Middlesex and Branch streets
  • Traffic studies using cameras to acquire data and identify solutions at the Branch Street and Middlesex Street intersection
  • New Branch Street and Middlesex intersection configuration design for which construction will begin in 2024
  • Roberto Clemente Park redesign for which construction will begin in 2024

“The partnership has been instrumental in the progress of investment done so far and in conception of future infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood,” added Espitia. “This initiative sets a great example for future methods of engaging residents and planning for specific actions in other parts of the city.”