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GA Blog: Newburyport

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5.25.18 Housing Watch: Newburyport Home of Enviro-Friendly Development

A carefully-planned approach to housing development can save valuable resources and benefit the environment. In Newburyport, ground has been broken for a 48-unit development that is recycling a former salvage yard and will incorporate green-living practices including areas planted with herbs and fruit trees as well as areas for gardening and solar panels. Read more about other efforts being made to lower the environmental impact of development in this article from the Salem News.


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3.29.16 State Funds Assisting in Local Infrastructure Projects

Lower Millyard in Amesbury, MA

The Newburyport Daily News reports that Gov. Charlie Baker, who took office a year ago, wants to expand the popular MassWorks program as part of a five-year, $1 billion plan to rejuvenate communities still struggling to take advantage of the Commonwealth’s recent economic upswing.

Massworks is a program under the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development designed to help cities and towns upgrade their infrastructure. Governor Baker’s plan calls for borrowing $500 million over five years to boost funding for MassWorks by nearly 35%.  To date, MassWorks has parceled out more than $330 million in grants.

North of Boston communities - including Newburyport, Salisbury, Amesbury, Salem, Lawrence, Haverhill, Peabody, and Beverly - have received more than $42 million since the MassWorks program got underway. These projects include:

  1. Amesbury - a 1.6-acre site in the Lower Millyard quarter is now Heritage Park, where a private developer continues work on a multi-story complex of housing, office and retail space [pictured above].
  2. Haverhill - along the Merrimack River in Haverhill, a once-tired cityscape has been revitalized with a new boardwalk and parks, spurring private investment in a new complex of offices, storefronts and housing.
  3. Peabody - leaders plan to reconfigure traffic-choked Peabody Square by moving a Civil War monument and adding street lights, trees and crosswalks, in hopes of luring investment downtown. Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt said the money has been vital to the city’s downtown. “It’s helped make the downtown safer for pedestrians and more attractive,” he said. “And it’s paid off for us with significant properties being purchased by new developers who have exciting plans for the downtown.”

No match needed:  Andrew Herlihy, director of the Haverhill’s community development department, said an aspect of MassWorks that makes it so attractive is there are no requirements for communities to match the investment.  In addition to boosting MassWorks funding, Baker’s economic development proposal asks for $50 million for a separate MassDevelopment program that makes longterm equity investments in properties in “gateway cities” such as Lawrence, Methuen, Salem and Haverhill.

Previous local MassWorks grants:

  • Amesbury 2015:  enhancements to the Intersection of Route 110 and Route 150, $1,107,812, including signal upgrades, intersection modifications, and the construction of new sidewalks to Amesbury’s downtown. The improvements will allow the construction of Amesbury Heights, a 240-unit housing development, to begin in the spring.
  • Newburyport 2015: increased sewer capacity and sidewalk extension, $2,000,000, allowing Newburyport to leverage $4.45 million committed by the city to increase sewer capacity and extend sidewalks in the recently adopted 40R Smart Growth district. The infrastructure improvements will support a $16.5 million 80-unit mixed-use development located next to the MBTA commuter rail station and enable the future construction of 440 units in the 40R District.
  • Salisbury 2014: Salisbury Square Water System Improvement, $1,708,769, to upgrade the water distribution system in the town center. The replacement of existing water mains and the addition of new mains will enable the Spalding School site and 29 Elm St. to be developed into 42 housing units. The MassWorks award leverages $9 million in private investments for this project and creates opportunities for additional redevelopment in the area. 
  • Amesbury 2013: Lower Millyard Water Street Improvement Project - Amesbury’s Lower Millyard has been the focus of a significant economic development and mill revitalization effort in the downtown. The MassWorks award allowed for the realignment and addition of streetscape improvements to Water Street providing for increased pedestrian and traffic safety. The city voted to invest $5.9M in the relocation of the DPW yard, $1.5M for the construction of Heritage Park and Merrimack Valley RTA has invested $7M in its Transportation Center. The city estimated 289 housing units could be created in the Lower Millyard area.
  • Amesbury 2011:  In 2011, EOHED awarded a $1,250,000 grant through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to reconstruct roadway infrastructure to support the development in the Lower Millyard section of the City of Amesbury. As the sole access to the Lower Millyard, Elm Street has numerous safety issues affecting the development of the area including roadway deterioration, lack of defined sidewalks, 90-degree turns, missing curbing, poor drainage, and increased traffic at severely restricted intersections. The improvements are critical to the Lower Millyard revitalization and will allow for the expansion of existing industries and the construction of new rehabilitated facilities.

Read the entire Newburyport Daily News article.

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9.17.14 Newburyport Waterfront Hotel?


According to the Daily News, Newburyport officials are meeting with executives of New England Development (NED), the largest landholder in the downtown area, to discuss developing a hotel between Michael’s and the Black Cow, two restaurants that NED currently owns.

The city had been in discussion about an 85-room hotel near the corner of Titcomb and Merrimac streets.

The “waterfront west” sector is also tentatively slated for a condo project of about 24 units on the site of the old Richard garage between Merrimac Street and Michael’s.  MINCO Corp., which has a tentative purchase agreement on the property, would tear down the old brick garage and put up one- and two-bedroom residences with access to the river.

Read the entire Daily News article.

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6.18.14 Salisbury Solar Farm

Salisbury solar farm

The Amesbury News reports that the solar farm off I-95 North in Salisbury is the largest solar farm in New England.  The solar farm is operated by True North by a third-generation hot water heating manufacturer who owned a plant in the adjacent Industrial Park after Massachusetts passed the 2008 Green Communities Act to encourage large landowners to invest in renewable energy.

Salisbury Solar supplies electricity to the town of Salisbury, the city of Newburyport and Triton High School, the equivalent of powering about 5,000 homes.  Plus, the communities get a 15% metering credit from the state for using renewable energy.

Read the Amesbury News article.

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4.17.14 Newburyport Forward’s Vision for Newburyport Waterfront

Newburyport Forward's vision of the East Lot, looking west toward Waterfront Park.       Newburyport Forward's vision of the West Lot, looking north from the bottom of Green Street.

The Daily News reports that Newburyport Forward, a loosely organized community group, has produced its vision for Newburyport’s 4.2 riverfront acres owned by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority.  The concept will call for 3 new buildings, including one that resembles the historic, long-departed Wolfe Tavern.

Newburyport will host an open forum where residents will be invited to bring forth their ideas on what should be done with the much-discussed central waterfront.  In fact, city officials will permit display of some images from Newburyport Forward’s portfolio when citizens gather in the parish hall of Central Congregational Church on Titcomb Street beginning at 8:30am on Saturday, May 10, 2014.

The tentative Newburyport Forward vision focuses on three possible structures: a visitors center, a WolfeTavern-like building that could include lodging, and a marketplace building that could house shops and/or restaurants.  The Wolfe Tavern was a landmark brick building that stood on State Street near the Newburyport Public Library.  It was torn down in the 1950s.

Until recently, the five-member NRA had control of the future of the central waterfront. But three members have departed from the panel, leaving it without a quorum.

Read the entire Daily News article.

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9.17.13 Newburyport Redevelopment Authority meeting tomorrow - 09/18/13

According to the Daily News, the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority is scheduled to meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the public library in Newburyport.  Chairman Tom Salemi said that results of test borings in the east and west parking lots of property the NRA owns on the riverfront will be discussed.

Engineers from the team that tested the soil for its appropriateness for construction will be at the meeting to explain their findings.

The following are among the items on the NRA agenda: RFP status report, legal and regulatory items; RFP status report, construction, environmental and geotech items; new business; and public comment. The term RFP refers to “request for proposals”, which would be a document the organization would prepare if it is seeking bids by builders and/or lenders for commercial development of the site(s) in question.

Read the entire Daily News article.

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