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January 14, 2013

Amesbury puts Lower Millyard plan on fast track

AMESBURY – Barely a week after the state announced it had awarded Amesbury a $400,000 grant to fund the creation Heritage Park in the Lower Millyard, city economic development director Joe Fahey said he’s already pressing ahead to meet the state’s tight project deadlines.

“The schedule is pretty strict and rather immediate,” Fahey said. “Basically we have to have all the designs and bid documents to the state in June of this year, and we have to have construction completed by June of next year.”

The sizable Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant has effectively kicked the Lower Millyard redevelopment timetable in overdrive after years of slow progress.

Combined with the relocation of the Department of Public Works garage to 39 South Hunt Road, which is expected to be complete by this time next year, Fahey estimated that by the summer of 2014 the Lower Millyard could already be transformed into the beautiful riverfront park that officials have long envisioned it to be.

“It’s going to be absolutely gorgeous down there,” Fahey said.

The old DPW garage will not be an impediment to Heritage Park’s construction, and Fahey said he expects the garage will be torn down at some point in early 2014 well after work on the park commences.

Once the garage is down, Fahey said the last step in the process would be to realign Water Street and install new sidewalks, light posts, trees and utilities. That process would begin around the time the park is completed in the summer of 2014.

Upon completion, Heritage Park will consist of the canoe and kayak launch, a relocated Carriage Museum and Chamber of Commerce building, a bandstand area and a connection to the Riverwalk.

Once the park and DPW projects are complete, Fahey said he expects Dan Healey and Rick Bartley will be able to move forward with their redevelopment plans.

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