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April 2, 2013

Ordinance Committee takes up Lower Millyard debate

The Lower Millyard debate continues tonight as the City Council Ordinance Committee picks up the discussion at meeting starting at 7 in City Hall Auditorium.

There are a number of items involving the project on the council’s agenda this month, but the big one to be discussed tonight is whether to accept a parcel of land on Water Street being donated by Water Street Realty Trust, which is being sold to the city for $1.

The .42-acre plot of land will comprise a major portion of the finished park if the project goes forward. But if the city accepts the donation, it will have to do so according to four conditions laid out by a memorandum between the city and the realty trust that owns the land. Those conditions are:

Carriage Mills will be able to use Heritage Park to meet its open space requirements under Amesbury Zoning Bylaws in connection with the future development of its properties on both Water Street and Chestnut/Oakland Street.

Carriage Mills will gain exclusive access to additional parking spaces at the Water Street parking deck, which officials hope to expand in the near future. Carriage Mills is currently entitled to 60 parking spaces or 25 percent of the total available spaces, whichever is greater, according to a deed dated Feb. 18, 1986 and recorded at the Essex South District Registry of Deeds .

The city must go through with the funding and creation of Heritage Park.

Amesbury will accept full responsibility for any cleanup costs associated with the donated Heritage Park land, including work required if hazardous materials are found in the soil.

In addition, the committee will debate whether to officially establish Heritage Park, whether it wants to authorize $725,000 to be spent on the park’s construction and whether to accept a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant that will reimburse a portion of the cost and reduce the city’s total financial commitment to $325,000.

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