Haverhill is using $1.1 million in federal COVID-19 aid to augment its annual sidewalk rebuilding.
The American Rescue Plan Act money is earmarked for sidewalks in the city’s Mount Washington and Lower Acre neighborhoods. The federal aid is restricted to specific densely-populated, lower-income areas. Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a statement Tuesday, Haverhill is also using $340,000 of its own money to repair sidewalks in other areas of the city.” He said the result is an increase of 23% over last year.
“The most complaints I receive are about our neighborhoods, our streets and our sidewalks,” Fiorentini said. “This infusion of federal money will supplement our existing budget and help us repair more sidewalks than we normally are able to do.”
Fiorentini said he began the current rehabilitation program four years ago, saying many streets and sidewalks had not been repaired in decades. He said the city has completed more than 10 miles of new sidewalks since 2019, starting with areas where the most children walk to schools.
The next phase of the sidewalk improvement plan focuses on the city’s high-profile and highly-trafficked gateways, including Groveland, Winter, White and River streets.
The mayor said Haverhill uses an outside company to inspect, analyze and grade every sidewalk and then generates a ranked list of recommended repairs. The review considers age, condition, how heavily used a given sidewalk is and other factors. Residents are also encouraged to call 311 with requests.