The Haverhill Conservation Commission gave a positive review late last week to plans by the Procopio Company to develop the long-abandoned Ornsteen Heel property, near the Bradford commuter rail station.
As previously reported by WHAV, the Lynnfield developer intends to build a 290-unit apartment complex on the site and adjacent property which now houses the Skateland building. Procopio’s plans also call for the construction of a 10,000 square foot restaurant and retail space and a 60,000 square foot public park along the Merrimack River.
Conservation Commission members were particularly interested in two aspects of the construction plans—removal and replacement of vegetation on the property and how the developer intends to address the possibility of flooding.
Regarding the first issue, Mary Rimmer of Rimmer Enviromental explained, “the idea would be the removal of the large percentage of invasive species that are present on the slope right now and really across the entire site, with the exception of a few specimen trees that are large enough to provide some habitat and some bank stabilization measures, but for the most part, remove all and replant with native species to improve and enhance the wildlife habitat value of that embankment.”
As to how the builder plans to handle potential flooding issues, Steve Martorano of Bohler Civil Engineering explained. “What we do is we almost have a basement you could call it, underneath the garage floor. It’s about four feet tall. We’ve got it designed as precast concrete chambers that you would drop in there and they would be open on the river side so the water, as it comes up, can just flood underneath the building and into those chambers. As the flood goes down, they just come right back out,” he said.
Following the presentation, Commissioner Thomas Wylie had nothing but praise for the project and the Procopio Company.
“I want to compliment the Procopio Company. They were very prepared and very professional. This is a transformative project for the city. This company knows what they’re doing and have a good track record,” he said.
The Commission scheduled a follow-up Aug. 5.