City Council Agrees to Buy Bradford Rail Trail Segment

City Councilor William J. Macek.

City Councilor William J. Macek.

Despite short notice, Haverhill city leaders secured a third and future parcel for the Bradford Rail Trail project along the Merrimack River.

Haverhill city councilors voted 9 to 0 Tuesday night on Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s request to spend $60,000 from a “free cash” account on the purchase of an 18,800 square foot portion of the former “Georgetown Branch” rail corridor near the intersection of Railroad and South Grove streets. The motion to approve from Councilor William J. Macek was seconded by Vice President Melinda E. Barrett. Community Development Department Division Director Andrew K. Herlihy explained to councilors the last-minute timeline to act was forced upon the city by owner Pan Am Railways after offers for federal and state agencies to match a planned private land sale were turned down.

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett.

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett.

“A clock starts ticking. The federal, then the state and then the local government have a chance to exercise an option to match the offer and it’s not negotiable. Whatever the offer is we just match it.” Herlihy said. “And I believe its 90 days, or 60 days, after that (purchase and sale agreement) is reached but the railroad doesn’t always tell you right away. We were hoping for a positive vote of this body otherwise we would have had to retract that offer, but we did stop the clock today by getting the paperwork in.”

Fiorentini also updated councilors on the progress of construction under way on the Bradford Rail Trail’s first phase, between the Comeau and Basilere bridges.

“MassDOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation) gives them until next March to complete it but we’re hopeful we can get it done by this fall, by September or October,” Fiorentini said. “You approved earlier for us to buy another section – I guess we have closed on that – which is to go to the yacht club and we’re very excited about that. We already have state approval that they will fund the building of it. We don’t have a time period yet but we’re hoping we can get that started and build a rudimentary trail there also.”

Fiorentini had noted earlier that while the new, third segment of the trail “does not directly connect to the section we are building now, ultimately, it is a critical piece of our vision of a rail trail that goes all the way to Groveland.”

5 thoughts on “City Council Agrees to Buy Bradford Rail Trail Segment

  1. Connecting sections requires bridge construction.Are those lamo rasists in Groveland gonna allow a trail from Haverhill onto Lily white Groveland?

  2. Pan Am owner, who appears to be a die-hard Republican, edged the price up a bit know how badly Jimmy and Co. wanted to expand their vision. The $60K doesn’t really matter for a city whose budget is subsidized by over 1/3 thanks to the good graces of Brian and his crony pals on Bacon Hill.

  3. Free Cash. That’s a riot. With all the issues in the city, it seems outrageous at me to throw $60k of “free cash” to this cause. Hard to believe it passed 9-0.

    • Don’t worry Boomer, once ACORN Andy talks mayor Taxman into investing into the software that will allow taxpayers to have “transparency” into the city budget we’ll finally find out how much free cash the thief in the corner office has tucked away.

      Notice how quickly that issue just went away??