Haverhill’s City Council recently addressed concerns surrounding fencing set to be placed around the Bradford Depot.
Councilor Melinda Barrett mentioned that a seven-foot-tall mesh fence is set to be installed on the sides of Bradford Depot, running from the railroad bridge to beyond the Steampunk Station restaurant. However, several residents have shared their concern about the impact it may have on that area of the community, as well as the restaurant.
“The goal may be to protect the public from the train and the train from the public, but I would hope there would be some kind of compromise in that area. It will have an impact on the depot restaurant,” said Barrett.
Kelly Melie, the owner of the Steampunk Station, told the City Council that while he understands that the fence is being installed for safety reasons, he feels not only will it hurt the area aesthetically, but it would also make his business less visible. Several councilors also shared similar concerns. Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua argued the fence was inappropriate to the area. Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien felt the fence would be harmful to the area for numerous reasons.
“I was just so stunned, as well as the rest of you, that something like this was going on when there must be other options. And I’m just really surprised that those other options weren’t looked at because of the historic nature of that neighborhood,” said O’Brien.
The City Council would go on to unanimously approved a motion to send letters to Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack on the matter.
Although Bevilacqua was set to introduce Dana DeFranco to discuss crosswalk safety in the downtown area, the discussion was postponed due to DeFranco’s absence.