State Awards Another $3.9 Million to Downtown Projects

Mayor James J. Fiorentini shakes hands with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at a ceremony Wednesday in Newburyport. Also present were Greater Haverhill Foundation Manager Ronald Trombley and Lisa B. Alberghini, president of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs, a project partner.

Construction of the commercial building at Harbor Place, on the site of the former F.W. Woolworth department store, is nearing full height.

Construction of the commercial building at Harbor Place, on the site of the former F.W. Woolworth department store, is nearing full height.

The state has come through for Haverhill again as yet another $3.9 million to support Merrimack Street revitalization was delivered Wednesday.

Haverhill has previously received more than $15 million in MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant awards. This year’s grant was announced at a ceremony in Newburyport with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. She also presented awards to Methuen, Newburyport, Amesbury and Dracut. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Greater Haverhill Foundation Manager Ronald Trombley were among those who attended.

“Public-private partnerships that lead investments in economic development infrastructure can catalyze local and regional growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, in a statement. “I look forward to working with businesses and community leaders to build a foundation for prosperity,” Polito said in a statement.

This year’s Haverhill award “complements previous investments in support of Harbor Place, a mixed use housing development featuring UMass Lowell’s satellite campus. Funding will increase connectivity to the Merrimack River while extending economic development and employment opportunities generated by the designated Growth District eastward towards the Merrimack Street corridor,” according to state officials.

Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore said Gov. Charlie Baker increased MassWorks money by 40 percent this year.

“Working with municipalities to make locally-guided investments is the most effective way to generate growth across the commonwealth,” Baker said in the statement. “MassWorks helps municipalities invest in their assets, and drive job creation and economic development.”

Here are previous amounts awarded to the city:

2014: $4 million, to “create the public infrastructure improvements needed to support the redevelopment of the Merrimack Street in Downtown Haverhill.”

2013: $5 million to “assist the (Merrimack Street) redevelopment project by improving accessibility to the Merrimack River through the construction of a new boardwalk, parking and the creation of new public spaces.

2012: $4 million “to create the public infrastructure improvements needed to support the redevelopment of the Merrimack Street in Downtown Haverhill.”

2011: $1.2 million for “improvements to the Merrimack parking garage, Bradford Rail-Trail design, Merrimack Street streetlight replacement and Merrimack Street streetscape improvements.”

In a Twitter announcement, Fiorentini thanked state Rep. Brian Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, along with Polito and Baker.

Methuen received $1.25 million “to install a signal and upgrade the intersection of Pelham Street, Agean Drive and Danton Drive. The intersection serves as the gateway to two industrial areas and is undersized to handle the current demand. The public project will also support the relocation of Jessica’s Brick Oven Bakery to the industrial park.

Newburyport was awarded $2 million to “support a $16.5 million 80 unit mixed-use development located next to the MBTA commuter rail station and enable the future construction of 440 units” in Newburyport’s “smart growth” district.” The state says the money leverages $4.45 million from the city to increase sewer capacity and extend sidewalks.

Dracut received $960,000 to “support a 78-unit assisted living facility and 28,400 square-foot medical office building,” among other projects.

10 thoughts on “State Awards Another $3.9 Million to Downtown Projects

  1. Exactly! I find it amusing that people who live here with their families (I’m looking at YOU, Duncan) are complaining about the city being fixed up. I get the feeling that if Haverhill was allowed to fall down around itself they’d complain about that, too.

    (The complainers remind me of the people who claim that paid parking is killing downtown…yet when I go downtown I always have a hard time finding a parking spot because downtown Haverhill is the busiest it’s been in years.)

    Dempsey is helping his hometown and let’s be clear: it’s not like he’s the only one in the Statehouse approving this funding. He’s not sitting behind closed doors cutting a check with no oversight, and it’s not as if Haverhill is the only city in Massachusetts who votes for him.

    • The reason Haverhill needs the money is because of the total incompetence running the Hale hospital and when Quorum was caught cooking the books, nothing was done but to claim ignorance. City leaders knew what was going on and were gutless to do anything about it except when it was too late.

      The city has been neglected for decades by people who have no idea as to what they are doing. It’s called long term maintenance plans. Something this city has not had for decades as they are always in reactive mode. A perfect example is the Hunking school. City leaders knew this building had issues back in 2000 yet did nothing about it. The same can be said about all the city buildings. Just look at the police station as an example of a failure of oversight during construction and lack of resolve to fix it for 15 years.

    • Big Freddy,

      I applaud that the city is being fixed up. Especially that eyesore where H.P. is going up. If you ever had the chance to go under there you would know that it was a health hazard that many homeless people called home. Although it will never be a NYBPT, utilizing the whole waterfront will be a huge asset to the city.

      You are correct that Dempsey is helping his hometown but let’s be honest. If Dempsey didn’t hold the W&M position do you really think all the infrastructure work being done in Haverhill would be happening? Would the Fish family be putting up their own money to build H.P. and around it? Be realistic when answering please.

      Lets see how long it takes for the eyesore (bridge) next to H.P. takes to replace also after the completion of the project. There are a boatload of bridges in MA that are worse than that one but I guarantee that one will be bumped up as long as someone is still in charge.

    • The difference is Lowell isn’t insolvent, Haverhill is.

      They are usurping sound accounting principles to save political face (and donor monies) of a bankrupt city, much like Lawrence, which should have been placed into Receivership long ago. The principle in economic terms, borrowing from the future through deficit financing, has a exponential deterioration as the city doesn’t have the production capacity to ever be capable of making up the deficit. This is why on every bond disclosure in some form or another is clearly states they will be paid due to the power to TAX. The bond rating agencies are paid by the ISSUER, and we saw in the recent past how they work, right? Unfortunately, Haverhill will continue to lose ground because it can’t generate the revenue from those taxes to pay the bills today, hence deficit spending bonds reign, along with whatever Dempsey can steal.

      This is not a difficult concept, Dempsey and his criminal friends believe that legislating math and accounting principles works, and they promote such propaganda. It doesn’t, and never has, and never will. This is also why the powers that be will tax and fee anything not nailed down just to slow the bleeding, but math just is, it’s too bad the cronies either don’t care, don’t know, or are intentionally doing The People harm (most likely).

      To put it in a basic perspective, in this state, since the turn, taxes have increased over 52%, while incomes (when adjusted for inflation) have decreased 10%. This isn’t unicorn statistics, this is our own government data. Throw in massive income disparity (thanks to nepotism and crony capitalism in this state) putting us number one in the country, and highest medical costs in the country, The People of this state are being systematically and economically exterminated. What you suggest is we say: “Thank you many I have another!”

      No, as the overwhelming amount of resident eat the cake being served by our corrupt and crony politicians, I’ll continue to repudiate their intentional evil at every turn.

      • “No, as the overwhelming amount of resident eat the cake being served by our corrupt and crony politicians, I’ll continue to repudiate their intentional evil at every turn.”

        So it’s your theory that our elected officials are deliberately destroying the economy, the same economy that generates their paychecks via taxes? LOL

        • I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate reading and reading comprehension isn’t one of “Big Freddy’s” strengths.

          Please don’t use your myopic thought processes in an attempt to interpret what I write.

          • You’re correct, that’s a limb too far for you. Oh, firing up the ad hominem attack (“myopic thought processes”) is usually the sign of someone who knows that they’re being called out on their nonsense.

            You’re the using the phrase “intentional evil” to describe our politicians’ actions, and you’re the one endlessly posting about the economic disaster that their ‘evil intentions’ is about to bring about.

            Seems pretty easy to interpret to me, but on the off chance that my English skills are not up to snuff…why don’t you explain your theory in more detail?

  2. Tim Coco….please look into how the mayor SECRETLY created a new fee on Haverhill residents with the community choice power supply program he was bragging about recently.

    Not only was mayor Taxman significantly inflating the savings to homeowners by claiming they would save 30% when they really will only save 4%, but he added a fee based on total energy consumption used. The fee will amount to be approximately $00.40 per household per month. It doesn’t sound like much, but with over 26,000 households in the city it amounts to $10,000.00 per month and over $120,000.00 per year!!!! Check it out….it’s in right on the community choice letter the city sent out.

    The biggest lie is that the mayor designates it as a fee to fund personnel costs for the city energy manager position. Haverhill taxpayers have ALREADY paid to fund that position!!!! This energy fee is just a new way for the mayor to tax citizens yet again.

  3. “In a Twitter announcement, Fiorentini thanked state Rep. Brian Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee” –

    And there’s the “money shot”.

    Were it not for Brian Dempsey’s position on Bacon Hill, maybe the fraud in sound accounting principles would not be able to last as long as they have. Then again, Lawrence has been using deficit spending bonds as long as Haverhill. In both cases, the long term use thereof is harmful upon residents of both cities. Oh well, as long as books can be financially engineered to usurp sound mathematics/economics, all is well. These guys will either be long gone or dead by the time it destroys this city. Of course if we hit a major economic wall like 2008 (the leverage is there now), these co-conspirators will just play dumb (they’re good at that) and say: “We didn’t see it coming”.