By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — New U.S. Sen. Ed Markey recently paid a visit to Amesbury to meet with city officials and get a better feel for the local community and its needs.
While in town, Markey met with Mayor Thacher Kezer briefly in City Hall before taking a tour of the Upper Millyard and the downtown area that included stops in Jon Mooers Artists Gallery and Ovedia Artisan Chocolates.
“He’s going around the state talking to local officials and some regional agencies to get a sense of what’s going on in the state,” said Eric Gregoire, the mayor’s chief of staff. “He’s now a U.S. senator, and he’s taking that role seriously by trying to find out what’s happening on the ground.”
During their sit-down at City Hall, Markey and Kezer discussed many of Amesbury’s big initiatives, including the planned rehabilitation of the Lower Millyard and the successful redevelopment of the Upper Millyard and other old mill buildings scattered around town. Gregoire said the success of Kitchen Local at 14 Cedar St. was a particular point of community pride that caught Markey’s attention.
“We pointed out Kitchen Local to the senator and how that enterprise has grown to over 22 new businesses that are housed in a facility in Amesbury,” Gregoire said. “The senator was markedly taken aback by that and happy to see that kind of innovation is rehabbing the industrial mill buildings in Amesbury.”
City councilors Anne Ferguson and Christian Scorzoni also met with Markey, as did Melissa Lachance, director of the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce, Fred Lucey from Rep. Michael Costello’s office, and Mooers, who shared pieces of Amesbury’s history with Markey while the group was touring his gallery.
Following the visit, Markey said he was impressed by Amesbury’s “thriving” downtown area and is looking forward to seeing how the planned Lower Millyard redevelopment further transforms the town upon its completion.
“The results of Amesbury’s Upper Millyard redevelopment are impressive, and the plans to replicate that success in the Lower Millyard area are an exciting development for the community,” Markey said. “These projects are terrific examples of what’s possible when local, state, regional and federal authorities work together and I look forward to working with Mayor Kezer and the city to assist with their vision in any way I can.”
Gregoire said the mayor had a similar takeaway from the meeting, saying the two had a lot of productive conversations and that Markey kept repeating how beautiful Amesbury was as he was leaving.
“He described it as a typical American small city where there are a lot of hard-working people and a lot of good things happening development-wise,” Gregoire said. “He definitely seemed to leave with a good impression and wants to come back and get to know the community more.”