Diane Pence and Al Button attend a Yes show at the Lynn Auditorium, which has become a go-to spot on the North Shore for concerts. | Photo: Spenser Hasak
By Cyrus Moulton
Lynn’s downtown has long been known for its restaurant scene—offering delectable food from a $27 steak at The Blue Ox to a $1.75 steak taco at Tacos Lupita. Adding Rossetti Restaurant, R.F. O’Sullivan’s and White Rose in more recent years to these pioneers, in addition to stalwarts such as Brothers Deli and the Capitol Diner, has made downtown Lynn a foodie destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And with a full belly, visitors can attend regular theater events with the Arts After Hours theater company and concerts at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium to continue their downtown experience.
Now, increasingly, there are options for downtown residents; not just visitors. Forty-nine market rate residences are planned for the historic flatiron building on Central Avenue, while a pizza/craft beer joint and upscale coffee shop are planned for the street level of the $11-million project, according to an October announcement. The project is expected to be complete by April 2017.
The Town of Saugus has meanwhile received a $10,000 grant from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative to help revitalize Cliftondale Square as a destination downtown. The money will identify sustainable businesses as part of a market study and analysis of the square, which is at the rotary intersection of Essex and Jackson Streets and Lincoln Avenue.
Like many New England country towns, Lynnfield’s “downtown” might be perhaps better described as the center of town, where a 1714 Meeting House, the Centre Congregational Church and the town library overlook a Town Common and Old Burying Ground.
But change is coming. Like many New England buildings, the library has been added onto over the years as the town grew. Originally a schoolhouse dating to 1856, additions in 1959 and 1967 and 1991 added roughly 8,600 square feet to the building and added an elevator.
But Library Director Holly Mercer said a new building is needed to provide “21st-century library services.”
Last spring, Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved submitting a grant to seek state funding for a new library. This October, Town Meeting approved a transfer of land on the edge of Reedy Meadow Golf Course Summer Street, about one-third of a mile from the current site, for the new library. The grant will be submitted in January and seeks 40 to 60 percent of costs, which Mercer said have yet to be determined.