Haverhill Council OKs Money for Kayak Rental Booth Downtown, 10 Police Cars

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.)

Looking forward to better days ahead, the Haverhill City Council last night approved a request by Mayor James J. Fiorentini to free up $8,900 from a reserve account to purchase a portable ticket booth for use downtown.

Initially, the booth would be located along the downtown boardwalk next to Riverfront Park off of Washington Street and used this summer by Plum Island Kayak Company for kayak rentals. The mayor said if the kayak rental is successful, he hopes Plum Island Kayak will continue operations in the future from a permanent downtown storefront, similar to their location in Newburyport.  The booth could also be used for other events throughout the year such as the Christmas Stroll.

The total cost for the booth is $16,000 but the city has almost $7,200 in two old grant accounts which could be used for the purchase. That price tag was a bit high in the opinion of Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, however, who likened the unit to a popcorn or cotton candy stand.

“It seems to me that it is an unnecessary expenditure of funds because we have the ideal facility already owned by the city of Haverhill in downtown Haverhill to be used as a community center for ticket sales, headquarters and all the things they are talking about and that’s the bus station,” Bevilacqua said.

Councilor Michael S. McGonagle saw things differently, however.

“It’s probably going to be revenue neutral. We have this outlined and then we’re going to lease it and over a couple of years it will pay for itself,” he said.

In the end, the measure passed by a vote of 8-1 with Bevilacqua as the sole no-vote.

In other action, the council also agreed to a recommendation by the mayor to purchase 10 new police vehicles. The new vehicles will include eight Dodge Durango Pursuits and two Chevy Tahoe four-wheel drive utility vehicles.

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