Trash Talk Dominates Haverhill City Council Discussion This Week of Downtown Cleanliness

The Haverhill City Council meeting included some trash talking this past Tuesday. City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua presented a photograph he took of an overflowing dumpster downtown, using it as example of what he cited as an ongoing issue. “This is a continual problem with dumpsters that are overflowing and in the public view where we encourage people to visit and shop and spend money and live. The other problem is that when the dumpsters are emptied, the trash that you see on the left side of the dumpster is not picked up. That’s left there, which is a public health hazard, I believe, and a safety hazard,” he said.

Haverhill Housing Policies Net the City State Interest Rate Cut on Water and Sewer Project Loans

Haverhill’s housing policies are being rewarded with an interest rate cut on its water and sewer project borrowing. The city was among 113 projects to share in $819 million in state low-interest-rate loans and grants this week from Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration. The money is geared to projects designed to improve water quality, upgrade or replace aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and cut treatment plant energy use and costs. “These loans and grants provide critical assistance to Massachusetts cities and towns in order to replace or upgrade deteriorating water infrastructure,” said Baker. “By investing these funds today, we can leave a better environment and a clean energy future for the next generation.”

The Commonwealth is offering to reduce the State Revolving Fund borrowing rate from 2% to 1.5% for communities that support the Housing Choice Initiative, including Haverhill, Lawrence and Andover.

Podcast: Haverhill Firefighting Museum’s Kentucky Derby Raffle a Step Toward Reopening

Signs that life is not quite back to normal are the many nonprofit organizations at work on variations of their signature fundraising projects, while eyeing normalcy just ahead. Among them, the Haverhill Firefighting Museum’s Kentucky Derby Gala for 2021 is still a little different than previous years where people dressed up while enjoying a catered event and live entertainment. Cynthia Graham, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, said this year’s event is centered around a cash raffle. “With three great prizes, a win, place and show prizes. First place $3,000, second place $1,500 and third place $1,000,” she notes.

Haverhill and Plaistow YMCA Readies for ‘Mission Possible’ Gala with a Little Help From Friends

The combined Haverhill YMCA and Plaistow Community YMCA is gearing up for its “Mission Possible” Virtual Legacy Gala with a little help from friends. The Y’s Legacy Gala takes place Thursday, May 6, at 7 p.m., online. Covanta renewed its commitment by presenting a check for an undisclosed amount to support the Y’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math program—known as STEAM, for short; kids summer reading programs; and summer camp attendance and activities. Meanwhile state Rep. Andy Vargas pledged to jump in the YMCA pool if at least $50,000 is raised. YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller “Our community partners help the YMCA make impact that supports the community.”

Tickets for the Gala, which includes an event swag bag, entry for a virtual door prize, charcuterie from Bradford Country Club, signature cocktail courtesy of Tito’s handmade vodka, are $60 each or two for $100 and may be purchased online here.

Merrimack River Watershed Council to Work with Forest Service on Development, Climate Change

The Merrimack River Watershed Council is receiving a $250,000 U.S. Forest Service grant to address forest lands being cut into smaller parcels and climate change across the two-state region. The Watershed Council submitted the Landscape-Scale Restoration grant application, noting “forest fragmentation and climate change threaten the ability of riverfront forests to protect ponds, lakes, streams and rivers in the Merrimack River watershed.”

“Over the course of the next few decades, the region will experience longer droughts, punctuated by extreme rainfall events,” according to a statement. “This weather pattern decreases the land’s natural ability to absorb water and prevent contaminants from entering water supplies.” The Council added development is leaving smaller, isolated land parcels of less than 50 acres which undermines the benefits of contiguous forestland. The grant begins a three-year partnership between the Council and the Forest Service, as well as Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, UNH Cooperative Extension and the Nashua River Watershed Association. It boosts riverbank resilience projects, fills an education gap in forest practices and increases connections between private landowners.

City Councilors Embrace Plans for Expanded Downtown Haverhill Art Walk Series

After a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus, the Haverhill Art Walk series comes back beginning Saturday, May 8. The first Art Walk took place during September of 2019 and brought various exhibitions, demonstrations and performances to downtown Haverhill. Invited by City Councilor Timothy J. Jordan, Hailey Moschella, this year’s coordinator, told councilors Tuesday night the walk is expanding. “It’s an indoor and outdoor event that will take place on the second Saturday of the month, May through September. So, we’re increasing it from a one-time event to monthly.

U.S. Reps. Trahan, Moulton, Pappas and Kuster Hail Federal Money for River Sewage Overflow Issues

U.S. Reps. Lori Trahan and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster of New Hampshire applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to provide $67 million in federal grants to pay for mitigating stormwater and wastewater overflows that pollute the Merrimack River and other waterways

As WHAV reported first in February, Trahan asked that additional money be allocated for the Agency’s Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant Program. Trahan called the amount a “down payment” and “a signal that help is on the way.”

“Every community along the Merrimack River like Lowell, Dracut, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill knows just how devastating combined sewer overflows can be. For too long, Washington has shifted the financial and environmental burdens of addressing this issue to local governments, who are already being asked to do more with less,” said Trahan. Pappas said the grants will help communities “upgrade failing and antiquated infrastructure that poses a threat to our environment,” while Kuster said the money is “a step in the right direction.” Moulton added, “We can stop CSO by investing in a new generation of infrastructure and technology.

One Lane of Broadway/Route 97 Closes Monday Morning for Bridge Rehabilitation

One lane of Broadway in Haverhill closes Monday morning as part of state plans to rehabilitate a small bridge over Creek Brook. The bridge repair is part of a $3.3 million Massachusetts Department of Transportation structural bridge maintenance contract awarded to NEL Corporation of Middleton. A detour will be in place on the northbound side from Monday, April 19, through Thursday, April 29, from 6 a.m.-4 p.m.  Lanes in both directions close Friday, April 30, to Sunday, May 16, from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. A full detour for both vehicles and pedestrians will be in place for those 17 days. Traffic will be routed along Computer and Research Drives. As WHAV has previously reported, traffic through the area has been disrupted several years as part of a $5.29 state reconstruction project.