State Rep. Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced the UMass-Lowell plan with Meehan and is playing a leading role in the project.
The initial bidding documents required the leased space to be downtown, within walking distance of Haverhill’s train and bus stations. The map was changed, however, after a team from the university did a site walk of the area and felt that there were more potential locations beyond what was covered by the first map, Gillette said.
Members of the City Council have been critical of the process for selecting a site for the satellite campus. Councilor William Ryan said at a meeting in late January that it has been too secretive a process and that it lacked input from local people.
Other councilors were more confident that the university’s plan was on track.
“I expect the mayor and our legislators and Marty Meehan know what they are doing and have a plan,” Councilor Thomas Sullivan said.
Mayor James Fiorentini indicated he is taking a hands-off approach to the college’s search for a property. Yesterday, he said he was confident that Dempsey and Meehan will find a suitable location in Haverhill to open the satellite campus.