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"concrete economic and social programs" that would instill a sense of hope and determination in area residents.  In the mid-1970's, Lowell had the state's highest unemployment rate; the city's economy had been depressed for decades.  The Park was seen as a way to create jobs and broaden the tax base.  Two decades later; the economic and social pay-offs of the Park are indisputable.  The overwhelming success of the Lowell Folk Festival is a prime example of the economic and cultural impact of the Park 185,000 people visited the city for a three-day celebration of the diversity and energy of our traditional culture.  The restored downtown historic district served as the open air stage.

     Although its work on the Park has received the most attention, HSC has an impressive record in areas seen as more traditional human services. Beginning in the mid-1970's, Massachusetts saw a rapid growth in the "purchase of services" system, through which state agencies contracted with community organizations to deliver services.  Because of its commitment to providing such services in an integrated system, HSC began working closely with the Departments of Public Health Mental Health, and Education, and Office for Children.

     In 1976, HSC established the first residential Respite Care facility to support families with retarded persons living at home.  Another program, the Parent-Child Development Center, was a model combination of various services for youngsters.  Today, HSC offers respite care services at Westford House on Nesmith Street through its Family Support Program.  In the past year, service increased almost 25% at Westford House.

     On HSC's tenth anniversary, Lillian L. Lamoureux wrote; "There is still much to be done.  There are programs to be advocated, services to be sponsored, caveats to be spoken, developments to be monitored, admonitions as well as praises to be given."  After twenty years, one might hear the same statement from HSC, which is unswerving in its commitment to improving the quality of life for local people.

     As HSC enters its third decade, there is talk of
unfinished business.  According to executive director
Ron Platt, "We need to look at the accomplishments of the past twenty years to set the direction for the future, especially concerning issues affecting families and children."  The activities surrounding the twentieth anniversary celebration offer an opportunity to assess where HSC has been and discuss where it is headed.  Many topics are on the table -- issues such as community development, the quality of life of families, and fully realizing the Park concept.

     Despite the encouraging developments of the 1980's, Lowellians are again suffering economic hardships.  The

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