City Council Approves Downtown Haverhill Parking Fee Increase; Mayor Considers Virus Delay

An existing downtown parking meter. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The cost of parking in downtown Haverhill is going up.

The Haverhill City Council approved a recommendation by Mayor James J. Fiorentini last night to increase parking fees from 50 cents per hour to one dollar per hour. The mayor pointed out that there has been no increase in the parking rate for at least eight years.

John Burke, the city’s parking consultant, explained why he believes the increase is necessary.

“There’s been three studies done over a number of years, all really coming to the same conclusion that the rate has fallen significantly behind the market as well as the cost associated with the parking program. So, the dollar an hour helps us to pay for all the operations associated with managing the parking and also be able to replace the capital equipment associated with it,” he said.

Burke said that equipment includes the payment kiosks which, at nine years old, are beyond their useful life expectancy and need to be upgraded. He also said the increased fee will include parking on Saturday.

The Council passed the measure by a vote of 6-0 with councilors Joseph J. Bevilacqua and Michael S. McGonagle abstaining and Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien absent.

The Council put off until next week a vote on two other parking proposals—one to increase the price of monthly parking passes from $20 to $25 and another that would set the hours of parking from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in all downtown locations.

The mayor said he planned to put the increase into effect Jan. 4, but would consider a suggestion by Councilor John A. Michitson to delay implementation until after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

In other, unrelated action, the statue of Hannah Duston will be remaining in its current location in Haverhill’s Grand Army of the Republic Park at least until January of 2021.

The City Council received a recommendation by the Haverhill Historic District Commission to move the monument. Upon the recommendation of Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan, chairman of the Council’s Natural Resources and Public Property Committee, members agreed to delay the discussion until after the holiday season.

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