Prize Available for Sprucing Up Barren Downtown Park

This story has been updated to clarify the source of the request for proposals and the total amount of money available for the plaza.

The city of Haverhill is offering a cash prize of $350 to the person or group submitting the best low-cost design for “reimagining” an area in front of the Merrimack Street parking garage.

Money for the prize and up to $2,000 to implement the winning design comes from a $6,000 grant from quasi-public MassDevelopment, which is spearheading Haverhill’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI). Remaining grant funds will be used to provide seating and shade structures.

“Entrants are asked to submit a proposal for a creative placemaking project totaling $2,000 or less, including design, materials and installation, if applicable. Projects may be one-day or short-term events, or semi-permanent installations, but should encourage interaction between people and people, people and spaces and/or people and art, and improve the public’s perception of the designated site,” according to the request for proposals.

During the past year, the site—formerly the beginning of Fleet Street and now a brick plaza in front of the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck—has also been proposed for food truck parking. Although the city has not entertained proposals for the site since the 1980s, MassDevelopment officials have said, major redevelopment of this site will likely take place in the coming years.

The winning entrant will be responsible for implementation of a design, and may utilize city resources and volunteers provided by the TDI Partnership. Jenny Arndt, Creative Haverhill’s arts and culture coordinator, was named project manager and contact. Proposals are due by Feb. 19 and the winner is expected to be named 10 days later. Submissions may be emailed to [email protected] or by mail or in person to Creative Haverhill, 21 Wingate St., Unit 104, Haverhill, MA 01832. Full details are at