NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 2, 2013

Ordinance Committee takes up Lower Millyard debate

Amesbury City Notebook
Mac Cerullo

---- — 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.

Those items were discussed at length during last week’s Finance Committee meeting and again when the committee reconvened last night. They will be brought up again tonight as well for city ordinance considerations.

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Amesbury Public Library is holding a poetry contest this month for kindergarteners through fifth-graders, and prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each grade level.

Children’s Librarian Clare Dombrowski said any type of poem will be accepted and entrants don’t have to live in Amesbury to be eligible. All poems need to be dropped off at the library or emailed to psteren@mvlc.org by April 30, she said.

The winners will be announced in early May, and then prizes will be awarded at a poetry party on Friday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. The winners will have a chance to read their poems and enjoy refreshments with their family and friends.

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It’s never too late to learn a new language, and seniors looking to brush up on their French will have a chance to take advantage of the Senior Center’s new weekly French classes every Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. starting this week.

Louise Gauron, a longtime Amesbury resident and Quebec native, will be teaching the eight-week class. Seniors who sign up will learn basic conversational French words, greetings and phrases useful while traveling to places like Montreal or Quebec City.

Registration is $170 per person. For more information, call Gauron at 978-388-0206.

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This Saturday, Boy Scout Troop 4 in Amesbury will hold its bi-monthly recycling collection from 9 a.m. to noon.

The Scouts will be collecting newspapers, magazines, books, cardboard, bottles, cans and used cell phones in the Upper Millyard parking lot. According to troop leader Ron Fuller, all of the items will be recycled and all money collected will be used for leadership training for the Scouts.

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The following meetings are scheduled this week and are open to the public:

Tonight

School Committee Budget/Finance Subcommittee, 6 p.m., Amesbury High School, Highland Street

School Committee Budget Approval, 7 p.m., Amesbury High School Auditorium

City Council Ordinance Committee, 7 p.m., City Hall Auditorium, Friend Street

Cultural Council, 7 p.m., Amesbury Health Center, 24 Morrill Place

Monday

Planning Board, 7 p.m., City Hall Auditorium

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Mac Cerullo covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be contacted at 978-462-6666, ext. 3238 or by email at mcerullo@newburyportnews.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.