Ceremony Launches Bradford Mixed Housing and Retail Complex, Start of Traffic Improvements

Although actual construction began months ago, ground was ceremonially broken Tuesday for “The Beck,” a 290-unit housing development, park, restaurant and retail complex along the Merrimack River in Bradford. The ceremony also called attention to planned roadway improvements aimed at relieving a bottleneck at the intersection of South Elm Street, Blossom Street, Laurel Avenue and Railroad Avenue near the Joseph C. Comeau Bridge. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini praised the developer and the state for the upgrade. He said, “I want to thank the Procopio Companies for working with us. I want to thank the state for this $2 million MassWorks grant that’s going to finally improve traffic and pedestrian signaling in this area to make the great project we know it will be.”

These improvements include updated traffic signals and coordination with lights on the Haverhill side of the bridge; realigning Laurel Avenue with South Elm Street to reduce open pavement areas, driver confusion and pedestrian crossing lengths and provide additional separation from the Blossom Street; realigning Railroad Avenue with South Elm Street to improve transit bus maneuverability constrained by the existing bridge abutments; constructing bicycle lanes to provide a direct connection from the surrounding area to the Bradford Rail Trail; reconstructing sidewalks and installing an enhanced pedestrian crossing; install traffic signals at two intersections to clearly define driver rights-of-way and providing exclusive pedestrian crossing phasing; and fixing deterioration of the existing road surface.

Northern Essex Community College and Regis College Sign Student Transfer Agreement

A new joint admissions agreement between Northern Essex Community College and Regis College, which improves the transfer process between the two institutions, was celebrated during a signing ceremony Tuesday. Upon acceptance to Northern Essex, students who opt into joint admissions on their application will also be conditionally accepted to Regis. Regis College President Antoinette Hays, Northern Essex Community College President Lane A. Glenn and leaders from both institutions gathered at Northern Essex’s Lawrence campus. “Agreements like these make the transfer process transparent, simple and affordable,” Glenn said, adding, “This partnership will increase access to bachelor’s degrees, which, in turn, will lead to economic growth and quality of life improvements for the communities we serve”

Upon completion of their associate degree, joint admissions students from NECC who meet academic requirements will be able to transfer to Regis seamlessly. They will also have access to register for their first semester on the same date as current Regis students with 60 or more credits.

Haverhill Councilors Approve Plan to Swap Downtown Parking Spaces in Advance of Building

Haverhill city councilors last night signed off on a plan to swap parking spaces—soon to be lost during construction of a new downtown parking garage—with others scattered throughout the central business district. Original plans called for the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck to be demolished in phases to accommodate a planned $160 million mixed housing and retail complex. With that plan ruled out due to structural concerns, the city was charged with finding hundreds of replacement spaces. One area to be made available, a vacant lot at 56-70 Merrimack St., will offer 30 temporary spaces. “I hate calling it the ‘hole in the ground,’ but that’s what some people refer to it as, between the Landmark building and the Harbor Place buildings,” City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. said.

Annual Heroes and Helpers Program, Supporting Families in Need, Gets $3,000 Boost

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Haverhill police and firefighters and Pridestar Trinity EMS staff are getting ready to go holiday shopping with children from families in need. This year’s fifth annual Heroes and Helpers program, taking place Saturday, Dec. 16, received a $3,000 added boost this week when Michael Jarvis of Jarvi Production donated the proceeds of his special edition Haverhill Police and Fire calendars. Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone says first responders are well familiar with Jarvis’ year-round work. “A lot of us know him very well.

Festival of Trees at the Buttonwoods Today Features Gift Buying, Ladies and Educators Discounts

The 2023 Festival of Trees at the Buttonwoods continues today with, among other activities, its Ladies and Educator Night. Festival of Trees at the Buttonwoods is open today from noon-8 p.m. Ladies and educators receive a discounted admission of $5 from 3- 8 p.m. Local vendors and crafters also offer gift buying opportunities and Santa Claus returns for a visit. On Thursday, from noon-8 p.m., there will be a Children’s Scavenger Hunt, while Friday, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., is Senior Day with $1 off the ticket price. There will be a Senior Tea Party from noon-2 p.m., featuring a performance by the Comedy Masque Review from noon-1 p.m. Old-time radio shows provide the sound backdrop to “Nostalgia Christmas at the Buttonwoods” with coffee, tea and pastries all day and a Candlelight Tour of the John Ward House from 6-7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 9, brings Family Day, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., with colonial cooking demonstrations from noon-5 p.m., and a holiday concert performed by Currier Square from 6-7:30 p.m.

Sunday is the finale, running from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with Holiday Artisan Fair with more music by Currier Square and light refreshments.

As Downtown Project Advances, Haverhill Council to Decide Temporary Parking Issues

Plans for the $160 million redevelopment of a downtown Haverhill parking garage and adjacent parcels means certain parking leases must end, and temporary parking created, to accommodate Merrimack Street residents and businesses. Haverhill city councilors tonight are asked to end parking agreements with Harbor Place and Pentucket Bank, which have rights to 198 parking spaces in the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck and approve plans for replacement parking in several areas, including a vacant lot at 56-70 Merrimack St. Specifically, councilors are being asked to authorize Mayor James J. Fiorentini to end the parking licenses in time for the demolition of the Goecke Deck by next August. The new parking plan requires by next May the expansion of the Haverhill Place parking lot just north of the parking garage from 30 to about 82 spaces and creation of 30 temporary spaces on land owned by a Harbor Place-related company, at 56-70 Merrimack St.; 12 spaces next to the existing Pentucket Bank branch at White’s Corner; and—after the August demolition of the existing garage—130 temporary spaces on the same lot. Developer Salvatore N. Lupoli’s plans to build a 660-space garage with construction starting next September and completion estimated by the end of 2025.

State Awards $15,000 to Haverhill’s Riverfront Cultural District

Haverhill’s Riverfront Cultural District was one of 54 areas awarded state grants last week to “encourage the development and success of the cultural districts and foster local cultural preservation.”

The Riverfront Cultural District, which covers Washington and Wingate Streets in downtown Haverhill, is administered by Creative Haverhill. It received $15,000 during a ceremony by the Massachusetts Cultural Council at Gloucester Stage Company. The grants are intended to encourage the development and success of the cultural districts and foster local cultural preservation. “Using creativity as a foundation, our cultural districts have proven themselves as drivers of economic activity within communities,” said Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director Michael J. Bobbitt. “With this investment, we’re not only supporting the creative and cultural sector, but the communities that host cultural districts as they continue to leverage their unique character to attract visitors and support economic growth.”

Cultural Districts may use the money for marketing and promotion; capacity building, artist or vendor fees, creative community placemaking or public art, collaborative cultural policy or strategic planning and data collection and/or reporting.

Haverhill Public Library Offers Two-Part Beginner Gmail Class

The Haverhill Public Library is offering a two-part “Getting Started with Gmail” class, beginning Thursday, Dec. 7. Participants will learn the first steps of using Gmail including signing up for an account. The class is designed for those who do not have Gmail or have not used their account for an extended time. Part one takes place Thursday, Dec.