NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 20, 2012

Councilors get peek inside proposed DPW

AMESBURY — James Noonan talks of his building at 39 South Hunt Road like a proud father.

But that's not surprising, after all, seeing how he planned and designed just about every square inch of space for his company Radar Technology Inc. in 2005.

Now, the building he's proud to call his own could become the home of Amesbury's public works department.

A small group of councilors and the public got the chance to tour Noonan's building, which has a selling price of $1.2 million, and see some of the features he planned, from the open space concept to the high ceiling.

At next week's Finance Committee meeting, councilors will discuss a proposal by Mayor Thatcher Kezer to spent $5.9 million to buy the property and retrofit it into office and storage space and construct a 12,000-square-foot garage/maintenance building behind it. The plan also calls for relocating the city's snow dump and compost site to the vacant 56 South Hunt Road site.

The city wants to move the public works garage out of its current location in the Lower Millyard in order to redevelop that site in the center of the city. Councilors were considering authorizing $8 million for a public works facility at a vacant lot a quarter-mile down the road.

District 3 Councilor Donna McClure set up the site visit, which was attended by fellow councilors Bob Lavoie, Joseph McMilleon and Christian Scorzoni.

Other councilors previously visited the site.

"I think it's a fantastic building at a great price," McClure said. "I hope Amesbury can make do with this without having to add too much to it. I'm hoping we can pull in the belt buckle and tighten things up here and make it work."

The building does have its limitations. Noonan said the warehouse floor cannot support heavy trucks.

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