Mayor Touts Completion of Repairs and Improvements to City Hall After Years of Decline

New retaining wall nears completion behind Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News photograph.)

Notice of dangerous conditions during February, 2015, in City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said years of decay at Haverhill City Hall are now behind the city.

WHAV reported last August a series of repairs and improvements were underway. These included construction of a new $1.2 million retaining wall between the building and its Main Street parking lot; fixing City Hall’s exterior white terracotta, including its ornamental columns and lintils at the front entrance at a cost of $430,000; and installation of a new generator.

“Your City Hall has never looked better following a number of major and minor repairs and improvements this past summer! We don’t wait until there’s a problem or crisis. We are always planning for the future,” the mayor said on social media.

Building complaints,  however, began years ago with visitors stepping over duct tape holding together pieces of the building’s 1973 carpet and came to a head in 2015 when a piece of the building’s third floor stairwell collapsed.

Third floor landing in City Hall in 2015. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The stairwell was declared “Dangerous” at the time by then-Building Inspector Richard Osborne. Officials said an area of the third-floor landing on the west side gave way, sending a chunk of slate down to the second story, just missing someone. Linoleum tiles above the hole had been duct taped for years because of an uneven surface.

Fiorentini said he submitted his first five-year capital plan in 2006 and updated it every five years since then to pay for improvements to schools, City Hall, the public library, Citizen’s Center, police and fire stations and other public buildings, parks and recreational areas.

Old retaining wall behind Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News photograph.)

He said other City Hall improvements include boiler and pump replacement; replacing five old and malfunctioning exterior doors with new steel doors, electronic remote locking and alarming mechanisms; new stair treads and linoleum tile landings in the four stairwells; window and screens repairs and replacements; repair, cleaning and repointing of the grand stairway at the front entrance; replacement of auditorium lighting fixtures with LED energy-efficient lighting; new Summer Street sidewalks and ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and more.

The building was originally built as Haverhill’s third high school in 1910. It was closed when a new high school was built on Monument Street, but served Amesbury High School and Northern Essex Community College until being converted for use as city hall in 1973.

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