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Lower Lafayette Block Party Celebrates Latino Heritage

Residents, officials gather to celebrate roots and dedication to community development.

In celebration of Latino Heritage Month, which began on Sept. 15, the Beverly Cooperative Bank hosted the Lower Lafayette Block Party in the Point neighborhood Thursday evening.

The party featured live music and fried plantains from Howling Wolf Taqueria. Politicians and neighborhood residents enjoyed the festivities.

Inside the community room at the bank on Lower Lafayette Street, the band Grupo Fantasia played Latin music, while people mingled outside on the sidewalk.

The street straddles the area between downtown and the Point, the largely Hispanic neighborhood that has been a focus of community development in recent years.

Earlier this year, the city opened the Salem Harborwalk along the South River, connecting the neighborhood to the waterfront. Plans are in the works to demolish the St. Joseph's Church building to use the lot for one of two plans currently being considered by the Salem Planning Board. Both plans include space for affordable housing.

Lucy Corchado, a lifelong resident of the Point and the president of the Point Neighborhood Association, said she is "excited to see attention and focus on the neighborhood."

"There's a lot of interest in the neighborhood and investment by the city," Corchado added.

The North Shore Community Development Coalition (NSCDC), located on Lafayette Street, has been working to help improve living standards in the densely populated district by managing affordable housing units and offering ESL programs.

"We focus on community engagement... Part of this block party was organized to bring the residents out and to connect the downtown with the Point," said Kristin Anderson, community development director at NSCDC.

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