HAVERHILL — The comeback of downtown has featured the transformation of old factories into condominiums, apartments and restaurants.
Local leaders want to add a college to the mix.
UMass Lowell and Northern Essex Community College said they are considering a partnership that would lead to a satellite campus in downtown Haverhill.
James Jajuga, president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, said talks involving UMass Chancellor Martin Meehan and NECC President Dr. Lane Glenn are moving toward making the campus happen.
"The chamber wants to work with NECC and UMass Lowell to help create a presence in Haverhill, and specifically in the downtown area," Jajuga said.
If it happens, the city would have three colleges: The main NECC campus, Zion Bible College on the site of the former Bradford College, and UMass Lowell.
Meehan came to Haverhill on March 6, where at a chamber of commerce luncheon he spoke to more than 60 business leaders and educators about partnerships with NECC, jobs and training opportunities to be provided by UMass Lowell's presence in Haverhill, and the possibility of a satellite campus in Haverhill.
John Chemaly, chairman of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and president of Trinity EMS, which provides ambulance service to Haverhill, asked Meehan if he would consider duplicating the vibrancy he brought to downtown Lowell in Haverhill.
Meehan responded by saying he and Glenn were discussing doing just that, including the possibility of opening a satellite campus downtown.
"I think it would be fantastic for Haverhill and would enhance the momentum the city already has going for it now," Chemaly said.
After the chamber luncheon, Meehan and several of his staff members visited NECC's Haverhill campus and spoke with Glenn and his staff.
"We are looking at what kind of presence by NECC would make the most sense in downtown Haverhill," Glenn said about the talks that have been taking place. "We've been in conversations with Mayor (James) Fiorentini and downtown business leaders as to what kind of programs or service would make sense for the college to have downtown."