Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Petitions Baker for Winter Storm Aid Money

(File photograph.)

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission has asked Gov. Baker for financial aid to offset cleanup costs from recent winter storms. (File photograph)

Winter may seem like a distant memory these days, but the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is keenly aware of the damage done to the region over the last few months.

Last week, the Commission’s Executive Director Karen Sawyer Conard petitioned Governor Charlie Baker for emergency storm aid money, citing “unprecedented” damage to the region in March.

In her letter, Conard made special mention of Haverhill, which faced four days without power in some areas. “Haverhill, hit especially hard, encompasses 35.6 square miles, making the cleanup cost simply insupportable,” she wrote. During one storm in the middle of March, a record 24.3 inches of snow fell on the shoe city.

Other municipalities that took the brunt of the storm were Groveland—which incurred over $50,000 in unforeseen cleanup costs—and North Andover, Conard said.

Each city’s cleanup costs are estimated—conservatively, noted Conard—at amounts ranging from $50,000-$100,000.

“For many of our communities, the cleanup will continue for the next several months, taking valuable resources away from other important DPW projects,” Conard continued in her plea for financial aid for the 15 affected communities the Planning Commission represents, including Andover, Boxford, Georgetown and Methuen.

As she waits for a response from the Baker-Polito Administration, Conard tells WHAV members of the local legislative delegation have offered to follow up.