Fiorentini Gives State of the City Address Tonight; Highlights Include New Sports Building, Villages

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini delivers annual State of the City address in 2019. (WHAV News file photograph.)

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Tonight, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini is scheduled to give his final State of the City Address, recapping his 20 years in office and sharing his vision of the city’s future.

Fiorentini gave WHAV’s audiences a preview, discussing where the city is now and how new projects such as a series of “villages” across the city and a $2 million indoor tennis and pickleball court are taking shape. He starts by looking back.

“I’m going to talk about how we got here—by cutting, by adding revenue and mostly by improving our tax base, allowing us to invest more,” he said.

For the future, the mayor said, the city’s new master plan introduced the concept of village centers, which are “a trip back to the future, back to the days when there were neighborhood stores to walk to in every neighborhood.”

“We will have a new downtown. We have great new developments going in down there, a new parking garage. We have a new Consentino School and I will be talking about that and the concept of village centers,” he said.

A number of planners have cited a return to the 15-minute city or 15-minute neighborhood as places where all of life’s needs are within a short walk or bike ride from home. One of these is Edward Glaeser, professor of Economics and chairman of Harvard’s Department of Economics at University, who is expected to be in the audience.

With a $1 million donation from benefactor Ernie DiBurro, the mayor will also preview a new building, housing pickleball and tennis courts, that is expected to break ground at Haverhill Stadium this spring. The city will cover the balance of what is expected to be about a $2 million project.

Other guests expected to be in attendance are Sens. Barry R. Finegold and Pavel Payano, Rep. Andy X. Vargas and Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker.

The State of the City Address takes place tonight at 7, at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St. Haverhill city councilors voted to cancel their regular meeting to accommodate the speech. As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.

Planned indoor pickleball and tennis building paid mostly by a $1 million donation from benefactor Ernie DiBurro.

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