Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
The Heartbeat of Haverhill takes every opportunity to find new reasons to be proud of our city. On March 11, the opportunity was to attend Mayor Fiorentini’s State of the City Address. THOH headed out with high expectations that this should be a treasure trove of good news potential. The Heartbeat of Haverhill was not disappointed!
We arrived shortly before the Mayor and City Council. And the Address kicked off with a striking “Before and After” PowerPoint presentation. The full house witnessed the City’s ten year retrospective. THOH has only been a Haverhill resident for about half those years so it was an eye opener for us and gave more “wow” to the “today” shots. Ten years ago downtown Haverhill was a mess – abandoned buildings with crumbling facades, just a rough, uninspiring place to be. Today, we’ve started to realize the dream, with more restaurants, apartments, shops and artist lofts. Downtown Haverhill is a place THOH chooses to drive through rather than take Rte 495 which is several minutes faster, but not nearly as interesting.
Link to Before and After PowerPoint Presentation and the full text of the speech: http://www.ci.haverhill.ma.us/government/mayors_office/mayor_s_speeches.php
As expected the Mayor emphasized the importance of Harbor Place and the new Hunking school and he launched into a litany of Haverhill updates that was long enough to be impossible to remember for the average middle-ager. So let THOH recount a few that we particularly like:
Haverhill is Growing
Haverhill is growing in an exciting, planned and thoughtful manner with an eye not just toward the present but toward the future. New zoning rules have made our town more appealing to residential developers and businesses alike.
Haverhill is Going to be Safer
Eleven new police officers will be sworn in this year. They will be on foot, on bike and in vehicles to better protect our city.
Haverhill will be the first city in New England to use new predictive analysis software, to help predict where and when crime is most likely to occur so that we can put these new officers to work where they are needed most, on bicycles, and on foot patrols.
Haverhill is Going to Be More Beautiful
The city ordered a new Hot Box to make better repairs to pot holes (Okay this made THOH jealous because we live on a very beat up private street. )
Haverhill has a new hire in Pedro Soto, Vacant Property Manager. He will take on the vacant building issue making absent owners of dilapidated buildings clean up their properties or risk having them torn down. Welcome, Mr. Soto.
Niskanen Development Team and Util Architecture and Planning will introduce a proposal to develop the Railroad Street lofts along the river in Bradford.
THOH was impressed that the ideal vision for the Rail Trail is even longer than we expected!
Haverhill is Going to Continue to Be Fiscally Responsible
Last year, the Mayor and City Council were able to tax below the levy limit for the first time in thirteen years. The hope is to be able to do that again this year and set a trend.
Haverhill takes advantage of as many state and federal grants as available to fund desired projects.
Public funding for the new Hunking School as proposed will not be achieved through higher taxes. The proposal is more creative than that. If the citizens agree, it will be through the extension of an earlier debt exclusion of on average about $70 per year per household, so we will have a new school without a noticeable difference in taxes, thus keeping Haverhill an affordable place to live and work.
The Heartbeat of Haverhill smiled a lot through the speech – thinking yup, that’s important to me, that sound good, THOH would like that. And we were not alone, there were multiple pauses during the speech where applause made it impossible to continue. The pot hole project, the new police staff…and on and on.
Haverhill may have been an ugly duckling just 10 years back, but under the strong leadership of the Mayor and City Council, the swan continues to emerge.
(c)2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell