NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 3, 2013

Carriage Alliance to shed light on Lower Millyard plans

AMESBURY — The Amesbury Carriage Alliance is hosting a public information session tonight to answer residents’ questions about the Lower Millyard redevelopment project.

The session will be held at the Costello Transportation Center at 7 p.m., and city officials will be on hand to provide details on the project in advance of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, when councilors are expected to vote on four proposals that would combine to establish the new Heritage Park and fund its creation.

Matt Sherrill, chairman of the Amesbury Carriage Alliance, said he expects the session to primarily focus on the financial aspects of the project, specifically its financing.

“Despite occasional media attention, the public is still very much unaware of how everything is being paid for,” Sherrill said in a press release announcing the event. “So we want to improve that awareness and help put their minds at ease.”

If the project is approved, city officials expect the new Heritage Park to become the centerpiece of a new, redeveloped area of the downtown. The area is currently an industrial eyesore, and Mayor Thatcher Kezer’s hope is that the effort will ultimately raise property values and reinvigorate the city like the Upper Millyard redevelopment did decades ago.

The Heritage Park proposal currently before the council, however, is only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

Last summer, the City Council approved a $5.9 million plan to relocate the public works garage to 39 South Hunt Road, which will allow its former building in the Lower Millyard to be demolished and open the door for the area to be redeveloped.

Now, there are four items before the City Council designed to move those efforts forward. The council must vote on whether to officially establish Heritage Park, whether it wants to authorize $725,000 to be spent on the park’s construction, whether to accept a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant that will reimburse a portion of the money spent and whether to accept a parcel of land on Water Street being donated by the Water Street Realty Trust. A massive Brownfield cleanup effort would be conducted in the Lower Millyard as well.

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