Leadership of Haverhill City Council to Prod Mayor on Plans to Redevelop Parking Deck

Concept from 2015 shows replacement of the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck with a six-story garage on a smaller footprint. The remaining land would be developed for new commercial buildings.

The public has opportunities to shape policy this week as various Haverhill boards meet. In the interest of transparency in government, WHAV provides this list of upcoming meetings every week.

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

The leadership of the Haverhill City Council wants to know the status of plans to redevelop a long stretch of Merrimack Street where the Herbert H. Goecke Memorial Parking Deck has languished for more than 40 years.

Council President Melinda E. Barrett and Vice President Colin F. LePage are expected to ask Mayor James J. Fiorentini tonight to provide an update on the two-story structure built in phases between 1978 and 1981 as part of the Merrimack Street Urban Renewal project.

For the past five years, Haverhill officials have floated ideas to replace to replace the parking deck. Councilor William J. Macek suggested during the fall of 2015 to send requests for proposals for redevelopment of the deck, which would include commercial and residential development in front of the deck and a larger parking structure behind. Macek’s idea was supported by studies undertaken by MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative in downtown Haverhill.

The initiative, led at the time by TDI Fellow Noah B. Koretz, suggested new residential-commercial development, extending or reconnecting cross-streets to the riverfront and added parking, including a replacement parking deck. Koretz described the larger vision.

“New residents. New businesses. A really robust atmosphere for businesses with people living and working downtown—what we call in the economic development world an ’18-hour economy.’ You want positive street-level activity and commerce, things like that, going on during the day, during the evening. A really active street,” he explained then.

Redevelopment of the Goecke deck took on added urgency a year ago when falling concrete forced portions of the ground level to be blocked off. Two years ago, a sprinkler system collapsed and the year before the city made $200,000 worth of repairs on deteriorating joints on the east side of the deck.

Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., both virtually and in person at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St.

In other public meetings this week:

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Haverhill Board of Assessors meets to discuss excise tax abatements and other topics, Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 9-10 a.m., in the Assessor’s office, room 115, Haverhill City Hall.

Haverhill School Committee Negotiating Team for Teachers meets in remote executive session with representatives of the Haverhill Education Association to continue “impact bargaining,” Tuesday, Sept.22, from 6-8 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 23

Haverhill’s Central Business District Parking Commission discusses “reconfigured parking lots” at “The Heights,” 160 Merrimack St., and review previous parking studies, when it meets Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m., remotely and in-person at Haverhill City Hall, room 301, 4 Summer St., Haverhill.

Haverhill Historic Commission (rescheduled from an earlier date) plans to discuss strategies for obtaining public input regarding the statue of Hanna Duston in GAR Park, downtown Haverhill. The Commission meets remotely Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 24

Haverhill School Committee assembles for its regularly scheduled meeting, Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m., at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St.

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