Last Chance for Residents to Influence Future of Downtown

Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) fellow Noah Koretz.

Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) fellow Noah Koretz.

Haverhill residents have one more opportunity to influence the future of downtown Haverhill.

Quasi-public agency MassDevelopment will have its final urban design plan presentation and public comment on a future redevelopment vision of Merrimack Street and the surrounding area at 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 21, at Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St. As WHAV earlier reported, a series of meetings for public comment on a draft Merrimack Street Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) study plan last took place Feb. 24 during “informal and more interactive open house” sessions. Since then, Haverhill city councilors approved seeking redevelopment proposals for the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck and the Riverfront Promenade parking area adjacent to Haverhill Bank.

“Downtown is already starting to buzz with housing options, art installations, live music and more. But we need to know what would make you spend extra time around Merrimack Street,” said TDI fellow Noah Koretz. “Is it more dining options or outdoor space by the river? Beautification of streetscapes or better traffic flow? Or maybe just a few more places to scoop up some ice cream and take a stroll.”

The draft TDI design plan was first presented last December. It suggests new residential and commercial development, extending or reconnecting cross-streets to the riverfront and added parking, including a replacement parking garage. The MassDevelopment and Utile study is the latest in a series over the decades to find fault with the original urban 1970s renewal program and suggests “reimagining” city-owned lots.

As was done during the 1980s, developers will be invited to submit proposals to redevelop the former urban renewal parcels as long as they replace any lost parking spaces. The city could reject, accept or suggest modifications to any proposals that might come forward.

Public comments are being accepted at

One thought on “Last Chance for Residents to Influence Future of Downtown

  1. as I drive through other MA towns and look at what makes their downtowns feel more accessible and inviting I notice several things.
    1. Open air i.e. streets are wider allowing for some on street parking – the most inviting are those towns that offer angular street parking vs. parallel parking.
    2. More glass fronts i.e. larger windows in the shops making it feel more inviting
    3. Most of the shops, restaurants etc.. have ONLY one or two steps to enter the establishment
    4. The buildings are not all dark – even if brick many have been painted white or light colors.
    5. The main street through downtown is a thoroughfare to get usually between towns – vs. Haverhill’s downtown area is easily avoided. There is no reason to drive through the downtown area so businesses do not get the top of mind presence that is ever so important in brand marketing.
    6. Most towns / cities have one or two DESTINATION or CORNERSTONE shops to attract people to come there. Haverhill downtown has very few (if any) clothing, grocer, dry goods, hardware or drug stores. These are places people have to go, if not every week, then frequently. Even with all the new housing units being created people are forced to leave downtown to acquire their everyday needs. There is no central park or common for people to gather or go to – these are either at the far end of the downtown or non-existent.