“It might bounce into next week because of the holiday, but I’m hopeful in the next week or so we’ll nail that transaction down,” Kezer said.
While the resolution of the 25 Water St. parcel will allow the Heritage Park process to move forward on schedule, there is still one other issue that must be resolved before the project is in the clear.
The portion of Heritage Park that the city already owns was supposed to be cleaned up using $400,000 from an Environmental Protection Agency grant that the city hoped to secure in the spring. The city was not awarded the grant, which forced officials to look at other funding sources to fill the gap instead.
“We have a five- to six-month window to solve before it has an impact on the construction cycle for next spring,” Kezer said. “So what we’ve done there is we’ve applied for a grant from Mass Development and we have a grant application in for the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.”
Kezer said that if Amesbury were to be awarded both grants, they would help cover a significant portion of the gap, but they wouldn’t close it completely. He added that the MVPC program is a grant up to $100,000, but anything over that becomes a loan.
“We’re also applying for the MassWorks grant for the realignment of Water Street, which cuts through the property, so there may be some funding there,” Kezer said. “We’re working with the EPA, even though we didn’t get that larger grant, we’re looking to see if we can get something else in its place, so we’re looking into a number of issues to try and close the gap, and again, we have several months in order to work those out.”