Haverhill’s Season of Optimism

Harbor Place at White’s Corner.

Frank Komola retired in 2012 following a 23 year career at UPS. He belongs to the retirees chapter of Local 25, International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Boston. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Haverhill.

Frank Komola retired in 2012 following a 23 year career at UPS. He belongs to the retirees chapter of Local 25, International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Boston. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Haverhill.

With springtime temperatures and cloudless, sunny skies above the city, the changes to the area between Harbor Place and Haverhill Bank on Merrimack Street certainly looked impressive as I recently strolled along the boardwalk between the two buildings. The soon to be completed Bradford Rail Trail will certainly add a terrific additional option for a walk, bike or run along the opposite side of the river. This area had been long neglected but certainly has been revived by an incredible transformation undertaken by dedicated citizens as well as local and state government officials and agencies.

Soon the docks of the Crescent Yacht Club will be slipped into the water along the shore of the river, and the boats will head out onto the Merrimack for a pleasure cruise or a fishing trip to catch “the one that got away” in years past.

Phase two of  Harbor Place, offering condominium ownership for residences, looks to be on track to begin construction in the currently vacant lot next to the recently completed phase one of the project. The developers of both projects recently opened a model apartment and the first floor retail spaces of phase one to a reception and open house for the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. They’ve really created a beautiful place in which to live and work.

And additional improvements appear to be moving forward back on Merrimack Street next to the Haverhill Bank, where Salvatore Lupoli hopes to complete a new building with residences, retail space and offices. If he can come anywhere close to the transformation he brought to the mills along the river in Lawrence, then we’re in for an exciting future for our downtown.

There’s a lot that still needs to be dealt with in a city like Haverhill, which like so many former mill cities certainly has its challenges. The school system, drug addiction, crime, and immigration are obviously a big challenge for us. There seems to be, as there are with almost any issue a city like ours confronts, a range of opinions and suggestions on what needs to be done to address each of these issues, to say nothing of the costs and potential sources of funds to meet them.

But the mere fact that a lot of voices are being heard and suggestions being made to address them tells me a lot about the citizens of our great city and their desire to deal with these issues. We might disagree, but there’s certainly no debating the fact that we care a great deal. As we look across the table or around the room in debating these things, I hope we can keep this observation in mind.

Perhaps we can make positive improvements in these areas the same way the riverfront has improved over the last several years and in all likelihood will in the coming years.In years past, no one believed the river and its shores would look as nice as they do today. Perhaps we’ll be just as fortunate in dealing with our other challenges in this season of better things to come!

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