Photo: An outdoor banner promoting the original Creative Haverhill website.
The website of a Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce group has received a facelift and apparent change in direction. It replaces a site secretly bid by the city.
“Discover Haverhill” is now the name of the site at creativehaverhill.org and lists historic sites, places to eat, parks and a calendar of events. The site no longer provides a directory of individual artists and creative businesses.
“The past two weeks were spent simplifying, modernizing, and streamlining the website to make it more aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and informative,” said chamber Arts and Culture Coordinator Jenny Arndt.
Original Site Secretly Bid by City
Creative Haverhill was originally formed through a state Adams Grant and federal Community Development Block Grant money provided to the city. It had been under the direction of a committee composed of the chamber, city of Haverhill and WHAV. Because of the federal block grant money, the original website was subject to state bid laws, but only a minimum of companies were secretly invited to bid, according to city purchasing records. Ultimately, despite the “Creative Haverhill” focus, the contract was sent out of state and reportedly cost $11,000 initially.
As of July 1, state bid law, Chapter 30B, requires:
- Use of sound business practices for contracts under $10,000.
- Solicitation of three quotes for contracts in the amount of $10,000 up to $34,999 (previously $25,000).
- Competitive sealed bids or proposals for contracts in the amount of $35,000 or more.
The state dramatically reduced funding for the venture last year, charging competing applications from Creative Haverhill and Team Haverhill demonstrated a lack of teamwork, former Director David Zoffolli has said. Additionally, the chamber’s board of directors turned away city funding last year. Since then, the status of the partnership has been unclear.
Discover Haverhill also contains a web page on planning for the downtown Riverfront Cultural District.