, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 28, 2012

Kezer: City looking at alternate site for DPW

AMESBURY — The mayor said he's taking "serious consideration" of an unnamed site on South Hunt Road as the new home of the Public Works Department.

The City Council's finance committee last night planned to delve deeply into the numbers of the current proposal for a public works garage, also on South Hunt Road: an $8 million project that would pay for site work on a empty lot and build a new building from the ground up.

The city wants to move the public works garage out of the Lower Millyard to redevelop the site.

But the cost of the project hasn't been popular, despite assurances from Mayor Thatcher Kezer that new development in the Lower Millyard would help pay much of the debt service the city would incur should it authorize the bond.

During last night's meeting, the mayor and councilors didn't want to identify the property, which is on South Hunt Road, but not near the current proposed site.

Kezer said the owner's asking price is $1.2 million for the property and building, but the property would require additional construction.

"We have an existing building that would take the place of a portion of what we want to construct, so we compare the price tag between the new construction and the existing building," Kezer said.

Movement on the alternate site has been quick since Sunday, the mayor said.

The mayor told councilors he wasn't prepared to offer numbers on the alternate site because he wants his staff to take another look at the project.

"Just like a science experiment, you want to make sure you can replicate the results multiple times to say, 'Yeah, this looks solid,'" Kezer said.

Time isn't on the city's side.

The property is on the market now, so someone else could move in and buy the property before the city does.

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