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July 24, 2013

New equipment ordered for Brown School playground

Materials could be installed for start of school year

NEWBURYPORT — City officials say that playground equipment for the Brown School has been ordered and could be delivered for installation within four to six weeks.

Aging equipment was taken from the rear of the school last month, which prompted numerous neighborhood residents to circulate a petition requesting rapid replacement. More than 500 signatures were gathered in an online petition in less than a week.

Mayor Donna Holaday ordered a transfer from free cash of $20,000 and city councilors quickly voted their approval.

After a study focusing on safety and appropriate needs, the purchase has been made and the play materials could be in place by the start of the new school year.

Holaday, during an interview at City Hall yesterday, also provided information on a few other municipal projects.

The mayor said she recently met with Kenneth Kimmell, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, and she is hopeful that adequate funds, about $180,000, will be identified to close the private landfill on Crow Lane.

State officials are seeking supplementary funds that will be added to cash that is part of the Financial Assurance Mechanism ($90,000) created by New Ventures, LLC, the landfill owner, to close the site.

“We’re on about the 10-yard-line,” said Holaday. “We are almost at the end of this difficult project.”

Holaday said that the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority’s vision to develop its 4.2 acres on the central waterfront, which includes residential units, likely will depend on upcoming test borings.

A technical study several years ago by the Peabody engineering firm of Weston and Sampson had found “hot spots” — contaminated areas — and that construction, which includes residential units, could be dependent on a clean bill of health as reflected by borings.

The borings project could start in early August, NRA officials say.

Also, those odors that have been present downtown recently will soon be fixed, the mayor said. The smells, which are coming from new sewage-control devices on Water Street, should diminish by the end of August when new, permanent equipment is fully installed, Holaday said.

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