A Haverhill resident has organized a community meeting Tuesday night with the goal of creating an Acre neighborhood association.
Bianca Mercado, a member of the city’s Community Affairs Advisory Board (CAAB), a mother and a resident of the Acre since age nine, organized the meeting in “collaboration from city hall,” at 6 p.m., Tuesday, at the Salvation Army Haverhill, 395 Main St. Mercado told WHAV she seeks to bridge a “disconnect within our residents” and with neighbors, old and new.
“Residents don’t know each other anymore. I want to see that bridge, not only for the neighbor across the street but the neighbor around the street, so as a community we can watch each other’s backs. And if an emergency were to happen we can group. It’s not an ‘all man for himself’ type of thing, I’m trying to change that,” Mercado said.
“I have many intentions. One of them is for our neighbors to begin talking to our neighbors again. Put the neighbor back in neighborhood, that’s what I say. I also want the community to be engaged within the community itself. There’s many overdue conversations that need to happen here in the Acre, but they’re not going to happen if the residents don’t talk to each other,” Mercado said.
Mercado said the formation of a neighborhood association was a key recommendation in a 2009 survey and report by the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.
“I decided to take this initiative of organizing the neighborhood when I came upon the report because I saw that it was done in 2009 and it’s been floating around since 2009, but leadership hasn’t been taken. And another thing is that when the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission came to this part of town and they surveyed the area they did hold community meetings. However, I thought that if I got something going I have an advantage because I’m a resident myself, I’m not an outsider,” Mercado said.
Mercado said city officials, including Mayor James J. Fiorentini and police representatives, will attend to “hear us out” and will be “playing a supportive role of listening to the residents.”
“Last year I polled the neighborhood and they have already gone around distributing flyers. I’ve talked to many, many neighbors and told them. And so far all I have gotten is positive feedback. The neighbors are excited, they can’t wait for this to happen, they think this is so overdue. And I’m very confident there’s going to be a big turnout,” Mercado said.
Mecardo called organizing a neighborhood association a first step to “implement a solution” to quality of life issues in the Acre.