A proposed development on Storey Avenue, near the intersection of Low Street, also fostered community debate. Private developers proposed tearing down several houses on Storey Avenue and replacing them with a CVS pharmacy and perhaps a bank branch.
After numerous public sessions, the City Council voted down the proposed development, though some City Hall veterans say the issue can re-emerge in an altered form.
If residents were divided over those issues, the body politic came together to approve two school projects and a senior community center at a cost of several million dollars.
With voters’ backing, the city plans to construct a new Bresnahan School, provide major improvements to the Nock/Molin complex and build a community facility on the grounds of the old Bresnahan.
One selling point for the school projects was the fact that state funds would pay for close to half of the costs for the Bresnahan and Nock/Molin construction.
In the year 2012, several major infrastructure projects were completed and/or advanced in the past year:
City officials orchestrated the construction of a new clearwell (municipal water source) and pumping station on Spring Lane. This $18 million facility replaced the crumbling waterworks that had lasted for almost eight decades.
A major overhaul of the wastewater treatment plant on Water Street also progressed. The $32 million project is more than half finished now and is part of a municipal initiative to bring treated water up to state and federal standards.
A “passive” park opened at 70 Water St., a site that years ago had been contaminated. Municipal leaders also worked with state officials to upgrade bollards and introduce bright flowers on a strip of riverside parkland near the Joppa Slip.
A $3.6 million, federally funded project to fortify the south jetty of the Merrimack River began earlier this month. The intent of the work is to minimize erosion on Plum Island.