Haverhill Chamber President Dives into Issues Possibly Hindering Downtown Success

A four-day kayak trip along the Merrimack River during August 2019, raised awareness of local and regional environmental issues. (Josiah Morrow photograph for WHAV News)

Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dougan Sherwood. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Coming off announcements of two new Merrimack Street restaurants, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce President Dougan Sherwood decided to dive in to issues hindering the success of downtown eateries.

And dive in, he did… literally. Sherwood donned gear and dove into the Merrimack River this past weekend. In an interview with WHAV’s Win Damon, he explained the connection.

“There is not enough boat traffic coming up river from the Newburyport area to enjoy the environment we’re creating in Haverhill or that’s been here for a while. We have city docks that are right in front of The Tap, Lasting Room, Hidden Pig, Wang’s and all of the other restaurants that are on Washington Street, but there’s no great way for boats to get here,” he said,

As to why he dove in, Sherwood explains, “What I’ve come to learn is that part of that is that there are certain obstructions in the river that, at low tide, make it really, well, you really need to know what you’re doing or you risk dragging the prop of your boat along the river.”

Sherwood says he is trying to learn the nature of the obstructions and what to do about them to bring boat traffic to downtown Haverhill. Accompanied by Harbormaster Michael Vets and local divers, Sherwood swam the Merrimack Sunday morning. Unfortunately, with strong currents, even at low tide they couldn’t find particular obstacles.

“The visibility on this river is really, really difficult just simply because the sediment moving along makes it very murky,” Sherwood explains.

Earlier this month, Barrio announced plans for its tacos, tequila and whiskey restaurant coming next year to Harbor Place. Later, developer Salvatore N. Lupoli showed visitors his future Salvatore’s restaurant and sky bar at “The Heights,” under construction on Merrimack Street.

It was not Sherwood’s first river journey. He joined state legislators last August for a four-day kayak trip along the Merrimack River. He plans to bring in professional divers for another look for obstacles early next year.

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