Haverhill Council Hears Benefits of Little River Dam Removal; Invites Comments Next Week

Little River dam and falls at Winter Street in Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill city councilors heard some of the benefits that would accrue by removing the Little River dam off Winter Street and added their voices to a call for online public comment next week.

As WHAV first reported last summer, the dam has proven to be an impediment to redeveloping the former Stevens Mills property. A day-long Community Resilience Building forum, paid by a $70,600 state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness study, also deemed the structure a possible “climate-related hazard.” Christine P. Soundara, of Community Action outlined some of positive benefits at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

An artists’ representation of Little River near Winter Street with the dam removed. (Courtesy photograph.)

“By removing the dam, we would open up the two sides of the river, the lower and the upper area. If we did remove the dam, we’d have a lot more green space. We’d have more water, increased access to the river, public green space, tree cover,” she said.

Soundara added removing the dam also reduces the threat of upstream flooding and increase the potential sale value of the adjacent Stevens Mill property.

Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan was among those who agreed removal of the dam may prove worthwhile.

“It would definitely offer an opportunity to improve, not only the river itself, but the area around it. So, at this point, I really feel good about this and hope that it does come to fruition,” said Sullivan.

There will be two public forums next Wednesday, March 24. The first, in English, at 6 p.m. and again in Spanish at 7:30 p.m. Both forums include 45 minutes of questions and answers. The link address will be announced.

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