NEWBURYPORT — As part of its coverage of the upcoming election, The Daily News will provide profiles of residents running for the City Council.
Today’s coverage focuses on two candidates for the seat representing Ward 1, Michael E. Ferrick and Allison Heartquist. Ward 1 includes Plum Island and residences in the Joppa neighborhood and part of the South End.
MICHAEL E. FERRICK
Address: 8 Bromfield Court
Family: wife and two sons
Occupation: retired from Massachusetts State Police
Education: Northeastern University, Northern Essex Community College
Reason for running: Ferrick said he has the time to serve and the ability to help make improvements. “I am fiscally conservative, and I want to serve the citizens of the city. I feel taxes are too high. In 1991, my real estate taxes were $1,716; now they are about $4,713. We should watch the budget closely, so that costs are held in line.”
Ferrick expressed concern that water and sewer bills have increased, and he suggested that the salaries for new teachers are too high. Ferrick said he would watch expenses closely.
Position on possible development of the central waterfront: “I want to see the waterfront remain open,” he said. “I think that most of those in Ward 1 want an open waterfront.”
He said the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority might reconsider putting three buildings in at once, as has been reported about its tentative plan. “Maybe they should start with one building,” he said. Ferrick said he would like to see more landscaped area near the river, and areas where one can walk and relax.
Position on the schools: Ferrick said he has a strong interest in the special education program, and said that he plans to see that programs remain consistently strong. He said that the Brown School should be upgraded so youngsters can continue to walk to school. Plans call for the school to be closed in June.
Special interest: Ferrick said that he would like the Department of Public Services to be able to add personnel in order to provide better services. He said that the number of personnel has dropped over the years, and more employees are needed to clean the downtown and keep the parks and riverfront clean.
Address: 21 54rd St.
Family: one daughter, 11
Occupation: executive assistant to Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer
Education: UMass Amherst
Reason for running: “I want to continue to work to represent the residents of my ward. There are some great people here; much can be done with cooperation and hard work,” she said. “One rewarding experience for me was working to improve the Emma Andrews Library so it could be open for all to use. There was a lot of hard work, and three and a half years later the library and community center is thriving. It is an example of what can be achieved with teamwork, hard work and passion.”
Position on possible development of the central waterfront: Heartquist said that it’s time to expand the waterfront’s potential. She said that the plan of the NRA continues to evolve, and she says the momentum to do something should continue. She wants more park and green space.
“You can’t have expansion without revenue,” she added, and said she will continue to monitor the proposal of the NRA.
Position on the schools: Heartquist was one of the key leaders of Port Pride, an initiative to generate support for the building of a new elementary school and the major renovation of the Nock/Molin complex. As the mother of a school-age daughter, she said that quality schools are a priority.
Heartquist said she is pleased with the choice of Susan Viccaro as the new superintendent of schools. “She has great leadership skills, and although she hasn’t been here long, she really gets this community. I am pleased that one of her priorities is bringing in more technology to the schools, with the plan of introducing students to new ways of learning.”
Special interest: Working to diminish erosion. “As a homeowner on Plum Island, protecting the beach/dune system will always be a top priority. Fighting coastal erosion is complex. Newburyport is fortunate to have a beautiful and clean beach. It’s a natural treasure, one that I’m honored and committed to preserve.”