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Lowell Prepares For Its Own ‘Cambodia Town’

(second from the left) Dr. Kong Sengly the chairman of the volunteer committee and Gov.of Massachusetts Deval Patrick.

After more than a year of preparations, organizers say they are prepared to create a new Cambodia Town, this one in Lowell, Mass.

The creation of area in Lowell dedicated to its more than 20,000 Cambodia residents should create jobs by attracting investors and tourists, said Kong Sengly, who is the chairman of the volunteer committee formed to create Cambodia Town.

“It will also highlight more about Khmer culture by building museums that will display Cambodian art, as well as the history of Cambodia and how Cambodian people lived in [refugee] camps when they first arrived here in Lowell,” he said. “So the next generations and the whole American community can see what their parents and grandparents went through.”

The creation of Cambodia Town will also demonstrate to Cambodians that participation in politics can yield results, rather than having them remain isolated in their own areas, he said.

About a quarter of the population of Lowell is Cambodian, he said.

“We hope that Cambodian-Americans will participate more in American politics.”

The name Cambodia Town beat out “Little Cambodia,” and had to overcome concerns that its creation would create the potential for more crimes, such as robberies. But overall, Kong Sengly said, the community has supported the effort.