Mayor Says City Attracted New Housing, Faces New Challenges

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, as seen on local cable television.

The city of Haverhill is one that has faced challenges and met them all and today faces “an entirely new set of challenges,” according to Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

In a state of the city address Tuesday night, Fiorentini told the city council and audience in the council chambers meeting those challenges are key to a bright future. He said crime in the city is down 10 percent over the past year due to added police, funding and technology.

“We started by adding more police in the past two budgets we’ve added a total of eight new police officers. We asked for outside agencies to work with us, and they did. And with the help of Representative (Brian S.) Dempsey again, who once again came through for us to obtain money for more patrols to high crime areas. We then became the first city in the eastern United States to obtain new software that could predict where crime was most likely to occur. Then we used our additional resources to concentrate police where they were needed the most” Fiorentini said.

Fiorentini also said work will continue in its efforts to battle opiate addiction, which he called “a recurring problem.” He pointed out providing first responders with Narcan to help overdose victims has so far saved 11 lives.

“Last year we started a task force, the HOPE task force, to help us educate the public on this issue. And to help those who want and need treatment to be able to get it” Fiorentini said.

And Fiorentini said while four city schools have earned “level one” status, he wants others to reach the same level.

“We want every child in every neighborhood to get a first class education here in the City of Haverhill. This year the turn around plans for our level three schools will make those schools better. But those plans must be amended to include extended learning time. Haverhill must be the leader in providing good schools to every resident in every section of the city” Fiorentini said.

Fiorentini said meeting those challenges are “key to a bright future tomorrow.”

The mayor said development downtown has brought 850 new residents through the conversion of old factories, such as Hamel Leather, Fifth Avenue Shoe and Western Electric, into housing. Now, he said, the former Haverhill Music Center, Surplus Office Supply and an abandoned building at 112 Essex St. will bring even more housing.

“This didn’t happen by accident. It happened because we put together a detailed plan to attract investment in our downtown and then implemented that plan,” he said.

He thanked the partnership of the Haverhill Foundation and the Planning office of Urban Affairs for beginning work on Harbor Place, which includes 80 more housing units. “It is a truly transformative project that will include a boardwalk along the river and will remake our downtown and our waterfront for decades to come. Harbor Place will, and already has, sparked new interest in our city.”

Fiorentini, who has sole control over spending of federal Community Development Block Grants, said he is using some of the nearly $1 million to help first-time homebuyers. Last year, he said, five families were helped. Among them were Pedro Alvarado and Sandra Ramos, who were in the audience. This year, he is targeting 10 families.

One thought on “Mayor Says City Attracted New Housing, Faces New Challenges

  1. A new software that perdicts were crime was more likely to occur. All that is racial profiling, there’s a lot of that going on already