There is a scheduled vote before the Lawrence City Council on December 6th that will replace the name of the park at South Lawrence’s 5 Corners (where the fountain was located) from “Stockton Park” to “Twomey Park.”
Roger Twomey was a former Lawrence City Councilor and was a veteran. He has since passed away. Before his death he worked tirelessly to get funding to rehabilitate Stockton Park, named for a Civil War Veteran who fought against slavery and then came home and donated the land.
Howard Stockton was:
· A military veteran, having served as a Captain for the Union in the Civil War;
· The treasurer for the Essex Company for over 40 years (1880-1932), succeeding the city’s founder and first mayor, Charles Storrow;
· Worked at 6 Essex Street – the Essex Company’s Lawrence office.
· In 2008-2009, Councilor Twomey advocated for Stockton Park improvements
· Twomey teamed with Sal Lupoli, who offered financial assistance and commissioned a design;
· In 2010, Councilor Laplante placed the following item on the agenda, cosponsored by Councilor Twomey and Councilor Rivera: “Doc.#108 – Revealing Stockton Park (aka Five Corners) Draft Improvements”
· The project did not advance. Councilor Twomey left the Council at the end of 2015;
· In 2016, working with Mayor Dan Rivera, Laplante successfully sponsored a $330K amendment in the Capital Improvement Budget that received Council support and the mayor’s approval;
· In 2021, interim Mayor Vasquez targeted the money and began construction;
· In 2021, Laplante advocated for 5 artist panels at the site for the purpose of having Lawrence artists depict important Lawrence residents of historical significance;
In 2017 Councilor Twomey had a square dedicated near his house at the intersection of Leeds Terrace and Jefferson Street. Councilor Twomey was alive at the time and was able to enjoy the tribute with his family and friends, and together the city was able to honor the councilor for his years of service – including his support for Stockton Park. The City Council voted unanimously for the dedication.
For the Lawrence City Council to dishonor Howard Stockton by removing his name from his park is slap in the face to our veterans and further sends the message that as time goes on, their sacrifices mean less to our community.
That’s the wrong message to send and the wrong action to take, even if it is well intended. I urge the Lawrence City Council to either table or outright reject this measure for the good of the city.