LOWELL — Middlesex Community College will receive $11 million in capital funding from the state to turn the former Boston and Maine Railroad Depot into a new academic arts center.
The $14.5 million project includes the historic preservation and renovation of the 19th Century Boston and Maine Railroad Depot building at 240 Central St. The Victorian Gothic-style building, the former home of the Rialto Theatre, will receive a full renovation at the hands of architects Leers Weinzapfel Associates, working along with the Lowell National Historic Park Service and Massachusetts Historic Commission.
There’s “historically protected” and then there’s “historically abandoned.” It seems that this city only cares about the former, as we again have to stand by and helplessly watch another great abandoned property fall into the hands of someone who only cares about using it. Not since that old, Bridge Street Shell Station morphed into a Dunkin Credit Union have we seen such an obvious and blatant assault on neighborhood esthetics, and this probably won’t be the last until someone with a little cache sits down and asks, “How many more Hallisey’s have to become Hannafords?”