AMESBURY – The City Council’s Finance and Ordinance Committees have both endorsed the Lower Millyard project, setting the stage for a final vote at next Tuesday’s full City Council meeting.
Meanwhile, more details are emerging on a planned commercial development that will border on a publicly-funded Lower Millyard park.
The Lower Millyard proposal revolves around the creation of a new Heritage Park, which officials hope will become the centerpiece of a new, redeveloped piece of the downtown area. Mayor Thatcher Kezer has said the project will spur new development, and Dan Healey, who owns the Carriage Mills office complex on Water Street, said he is prepared to build a new expansion to his building if the proposal is approved.
The proposal is divided into four items, which are each before the council and have been voted on individually by the committees. The four items include a proposal to establish the new Heritage Park, a proposal to accept the $400,000 Parklands Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant, a proposal to accept land being donated for the park by Healey and a proposal to appropriate $725,000 to fund the park’s construction.
On Monday, the Finance Committee voted in favor of recommending all four items. The first three items were endorsed unanimously, while the fourth was favored 8-1, with councilor Joseph McMilleon casting the lone “no” vote.
Last night, the Ordinance Committee recommended all four items.
Throughout the discussion, opponents of the project have argued that the public sector is shouldering too much of the project’s cost and the private sector needs to take on a bigger load. To address those concerns, Healey presented the councilors with a packet of information laying out his plans and the explaining the investments that Lower Millyard landowners have already made in anticipation of Heritage Park’s creation.