Council Wants City to Again Help Fund Creative Haverhill

A Creative Haverhill banner from an earlier time when the city helped finance the group.

City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Haverhill city councilors are asking Mayor James J. Fiorentini to back a proposed public-private partnership aimed at “securing and accelerating” arts and culture organization Creative Haverhill as the equivalent of a city “office for arts and tourism.”

Following a presentation by Councilors Andy Vargas and Thomas J. Sullivan, the council voted 8 to 0 Tuesday on a motion to send a letter to Fiorentini “urging him to support” a plan to allocate five percent of meals tax and parking fine revenues toward a so-called “ACT! Haverhill” fund. The proposed city contribution, estimated at $45,000 per year, would be matched by corporate sponsors, “to promote arts, culture and tourism, as a tool for Haverhill economic development,” according to presentation materials provided to WHAV by Vargas. Sullivan noted Fiorentini has advocated for promoting arts and culture downtown and, in the past year, helped revive Haverhill Brightside. He added, in reference to Creative Haverhill, “the office is already created” and would not cost the city in hiring employees.

Haverhill City Councilor Andy Vargas.

Haverhill City Councilor Andy Vargas.

“The rate of return is clear. For every one dollar invested in arts and culture, you get five dollars back. That’s a great rate of return. More importantly, it speaks to the quality of life here in Haverhill. Just downtown, more and more young people are flocking to Haverhill’s downtown. We have a number of very bright artists in this community. We have artists all over this community that are just waiting for something like this to grow and flourish and we’re here,” Sullivan said.

Creative Haverhill Arts and Culture Coordinator Jenny Arndt said she had no role in creating the proposal but was “thrilled” the proposal would make arts and tourism “a priority in the city.”

“Here’s the cultural district designation, this is a really good resume builder for the city and unfortunately we just haven’t had the means to really use that vessel and do anything important with it yet,” Arndt said. “And when I go to these cultural district gatherings and I hear how other cities are investing in the cultural districts and really making it a priority, that’s what’s making their cultural districts so successful. And so, I think this is exactly what Haverhill needs to really leverage that designation.”

Council President John A. Michtison added it would help city goals to “get millennials to come to Haverhill and stay in Haverhill.”

“Because they bring the jobs of the future and they have some money to spend on retail. And that’s how you fund a flourishing community. We do need funding, it’s just a very positive cycle,” Michitson said.

City Previously Helped Fund Creative Haverhill, but was Turned Away

The City of Haverhill once supported Creative Haverhill through its Community Development Block Grant program. In 2013, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce turned away $15,000 in continuing city grant money. The chamber, city, Northern Essex Community College and WHAV had been among partners in the project until the project was consolidated within the chamber in April, 2013. Creative Haverhill was originally formed with the receipt of a state Adams grant in 2007.

In August, 2015, Creative Haverhill took over the Chamber’s former Community Arts and Education Foundation and moved to its current offices within the Downtown Cultural District at 22 Wingate St.

12 thoughts on “Council Wants City to Again Help Fund Creative Haverhill

  1. This “found money” that everyone talks about has already been spent or promised. While it would be nice to fund Creative Haverhill, who has first dibs on available funds????? Who will decide this, and how do we end up with “found money” in the first place? Are City accountants incompetent? Do they know what they are doing?

  2. If there is “extra” and “found” money in Haverhill it should go back to the taxpayers. Many taxpayers can use the break. Haverhill takes in millions from state taxes and the fed every year. Just look at the new building downtown. Almost all the $$ comes from taxpayers.

  3. “The rate of return is clear. For every one dollar invested in arts and culture, you get five dollars back. That’s a great rate of return.” –

    While I am by no means not opposed to arts & cultural investment, that is Nancy Pelosi speak, and certainly not any economic math I’m familiar with outside of money printing and borders on Marxism. This is of course in a city, a state, and a federal government now engaged in using debt as revenue. If people are fine with that, then continue to vote for the status quo.

    Jack Haverhill is factually correct in regard parking. The parking is worse, because once again, “estimates” like the $100K revenue generating scam is either not meeting estimates, or, it is being drained into some other funding. The meals tax, as Jack Haverhill stated, is just another way to squeeze every penny out of The People for a poor municipality that will never be in position to support itself. If you eat at restaurants in Haverhill, just like the lottery, it’s a voluntary tax upon yourself.

  4. Name calling isn’t going to win the cause here folks. Jack is correct with some of what he writes. Joy is even more correct. The restaurant tax and parking fees are already earmarked.
    The arts need to be funded but at what cost and cost to who?
    Kids fest is an absolute joke and the tree lighting is nothing more than a pub crawl.
    Harbor towers..that’s another story…
    There is good happening in this city but let’s not forget this mayor plays many games and Jack is onto them.

    • You appear to be on to mayor taxman’s games too, Dan.
      I find it hard not to feel sorry for the people who took shots at me for my comments when I’m simply pointing out “facts” about how city taxpayers have been pillaged by this mayor trying to suck every last penny out of them. The mayor instituted an intrusive, punitive revenue generating parking tax on people visiting downtown and the people taking shots at me don’t even realize that he is double dipping in charging people TWICE for the ability to park downtown. Or, more than likely, these people have a vested self-interest in supporting his policies because they work in one of the many city public employee unions, so it makes sense to them to lash out at anyone who dared interfere with that in any way.

      • OMG Jack, I am so glad to find you also had something to say about this subject and I am so very pleased to find that you are never short on sharing more ignorant theories with out us without us even having to ask. That is so thoughtful of you. You really should be our mayor, or maybe even our president. At the least you should start a supper club. The same angry ass-hats that follow your posts can meet once a week to discuss what else they hate and how all of us should live in your unhappy vision of our city.

        Keep sharing those special fart-nuggets of your wisdom. I am looking forward to following you adventures. By the way, you really should be on Twitter. I bet Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump would have no choice but to follow you as soon as you posted this far our crazy crap you do so well.

  5. I guess I don’t see this as a priority for spending any city revenue. I thought the meals tax and parking ticket revenue was already earmarked in the City budget? If there is money available maybe a better choice for spending could be putting it towards city debt or one of the many upcoming and ongoing mandated projects; such as landfill cap expense, waste water improvements, etc. The money could also be used for sidewalks, running city water and sewerage services to homes in Haverhill that don’t have access, housing for the homeless, etc.

  6. Jack you are one angry SOB. You always post the most ignorant and negative comments. Can you just move the heck out of Haverhill and let us all be.

    • Well said. This guy is such a loser and a baby. No matter what good is happening in our city this guy always takes the opportunity to crap on it. Enough with the angry blowhards.

  7. So now the city is in the entertainment business?
    The incompetent taxman mayor went into the healthcare business putting the city $100Million into debt.
    He then sold taxpayers down the road to the tune of $70Million to get into the real estate business at Harbor Place.
    He raises taxes on people to eat at local restaurants and then invested in a vehicle and employees to ticket visitors to downtown by ticketing as many people as possible.

    Acorn Andy: Contrary to what you learned at the liberal university you attended and the progressive liberals you so proudly trained under … Government does NOT need to be involved in every aspect of people’s lives!!! People in Haverhill DO NOT need you Andy deciding what to do with the money the mayor stole through his punitive revenue generating public policies!! Return the money back to the people who paid it and let them decide what to do with it….it’s their money to begin with!!

    • why don’t you put up or shut up? What volunteer work do you do around the city? Do you have any idea wtf Creative Haverhill is and the great things it tries to do for citizens of Haverhill young and old. I attended the summer movies they put together with my kids and saw a parking lot full of families having a great time. The lot was packed to watch ET. People were laughing and crying and that moment would not have happened if an a-hole like you had a say. You are a taker and not a maker. A negative blight on the city that bitches and complains but probably never works to help, whines about taxes and hates everyone with a different view. Do not us all a favor and stay off the internet.

    • Ditto. Angry man. Nothing positive ever posted by this guy. Always complaining and thinking people who read his posts actually care about is opinions. A bully hiding behind an email address. A real troll.