After Removing Moorings, Slavit Says He Seeks to Restart Talks on Bringing Riverboat to Haverhill

One of two concrete mooring blocks is loaded on a trailer after being ordered removed from the Merrimack River in March. (WHAV News photograph.)

The Slavit family says it is not giving up on bringing a passenger riverboat to Haverhill and pledges to bring everyone together in an attempt to resolve any concerns.

Tim Slavit, son of late Harbormaster William J. “Red” Slavit, Thursday afternoon complied with an order to remove two concrete moorings he had placed Sunday in the Merrimack River, off Water Street. Northern Tree Service returned and raised the structures out of the water. The moorings are now being stored at Slavit’s home. He said his meeting with the Haverhill Harbor Commission Tuesday went “sour” and he would like to start over.

“I just wish we had an opportunity to meet and not an atmosphere of a military court martial-style with rapid questions out of craziness being asked to us with people who have hated us for years,” he said.

Slavit said he did not expect to speak when the Commission met to consider paying $8,000 for a gangway and future docks to accommodate the 105-foot-long, 28-foot-wide MS Captain Red. He is proposing a different meeting format.

“All we got to do is go into a room with the mayor, some of the Harbor Commission, the fire chief, and sit down around the table and figure out the best way that this could work for the people of Haverhill,” he said.

Slavit hired a crane last Sunday to drop the concrete structures into the Merrimack River in anticipation of bringing the MS Captain Red to Haverhill today. Harbormaster Michael Vets, however, said Tuesday he had not approved the installation as required. In a police-delivered notice from Vets, Slavit was ordered late Wednesday night to remove the moorings at Chase’s Wharf.

Slavit used the opportunity yesterday to answer some of the questions that were raised this week. In lieu of a downtown service area, he said, trucks from Stewart’s Septic Service would be hired to empty solid waste and a licensed dealer will fuel the ship. He also said he verified the ship would be maneuverable in the Merrimack River and capable of turning around.

Following Tuesday’s heated exchange, Harbor Commissioner Alan Foucault tendered his resignation. In a letter to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, he wrote, “The last several meetings have been abusive to me, with name calling and insults. I have no tolerance for this behavior left.” Foucault told Slavit the concrete moorings didn’t receive required permission and no review was requested of the city Conservation Commission. Since Slavit is requesting city money, he argued, he had “a right to ask some questions.”

Fiorentini could not be reached for comment Thursday night, but Ralph T. Basiliere, vice chairman of the city’s Conservation Commission, said he would be willing to meet again with Slavit.

“The Conservation Commission is always open to giving a fair look and a fresh look at anybody who has a project that involves docks along the river,” he said.

No meeting has yet been scheduled.

Comments are closed.