Engineering Firm May Receive Contract to Provide Downtown ‘Oversight’

The proposed Merrimack River boardwalk would extend the walkway from behind Haverhill Bank to the Basiliere Bridge.

The Haverhill City Council is being asked to extend the contract of an engineering company to oversee construction of new portions of a Merrimack River boardwalk and “review other invoices generated by the Harbor Place project.”

On Tuesday’s council agenda, Haverhill Economic Development and Planning Director William Pillsbury Jr. is scheduled to discuss Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s request to re-allocate a $130,000 surplus from a 2012 $6.061 million bond order for the flood wall improvement project. The money would be used to “extend and amend” a contract with engineering company AECOM to “provide oversight and review of millions of dollars of construction invoices generated by the boardwalk and the Harbor Place project.” The proposed bond order amendment is also subject to approval by the city’s bond counsel. Los Angeles, Calif.-based AECOM designed federally required improvements to the downtown flood wall.

“We would now like to hire AECOM to oversee the construction of the boardwalk and to review the other invoices generated by the Harbor Place project,” Fiorentini said in a letter to the council. “We feel that additional oversight will assist us in oversight of the design and construction of the boardwalk and the Harbor Place infrastructure.” It was unclear at deadline what “other invoices” are subject to review.

Haverhill received a number of MassWorks grants for Merrimack Street-related projects from former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration. These include $4 million in 2014 to “create the public infrastructure improvements needed to support the redevelopment of the Merrimack Street in Downtown Haverhill;” $5 million in 2013 to improve “ accessibility to the Merrimack River through the construction of a new boardwalk, parking and the creation of new public spaces; $4 million in 2012 “to create the public infrastructure improvements needed to support the redevelopment of the Merrimack Street in downtown Haverhill; and $1.2 million in 2011 for “improvements to the Merrimack parking garage, Bradford Rail-Trail design, Merrimack Street streetlight replacement and Merrimack Street streetscape improvements.”

The floodwall project, designed to ensure the structure behind Merrimack Street would support construction of a boardwalk on top of it, came in under budget, according to Fiorentini. The 2012 bond order authorized the city to borrow through the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for “any federal or state aid available for the project or for the financing thereof.”

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

2 thoughts on “Engineering Firm May Receive Contract to Provide Downtown ‘Oversight’

  1. Isn’t this an admission mayor Taxman is in over his head and has absolutely no confidence in the ability of his staff to do the job? Why should Haverhill taxpayers pay an outside contractor to do the job a city employee is already being paid to do? Taxpayers end up paying twice because of Taxman’s inability to get it done the first time with a city employee.

    Where’s the update from mayor Taxman on when Dunhill Construction is going to resume work on Harbor Place? It’s been two weeks now that they announced a scheduling problem with another project and walked away from the HP site. As expected, still no word from Taxman if he negotiated fines and penalties for this work stoppage.

    • You sure you don’t mean “Dellbrook Construction” Jack?

      Can’t confuse them as the owner is part of The Fish Family, and it might be insulting to Brian Dempsey and his pals on Bacon Hill to forget “who” is in charge and pulling the purse strings in all things construction in this state. Also don’t ever forget who owns a lot of the Section 8 building tenements in Haverhill, once again, family members of the same, The Fish Family.