EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 10, 2013

Mayor wants $780K for rail trail, dog park

Also seeks cash for dog park, fire truck, gateway improvements

HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini wants to spend $780,500 to extend the Bradford Rail Trail, improve gateways to the inner city and build a dog park.

He will outline those and other proposed projects to the City Council tonight.

As part of his “Building For The Future” five-year capital improvement program, the mayor will seek the council’s approval to spend the money on the rail trail along the Merrimack River and about a dozen other items.

He will also seek council approval to borrow $420,000 to buy or lease a fire truck. Firefighters have complained that several of their department’s trucks are in disrepair, putting public safety at risk.

The mayor’s request includes fencing for a proposed dog park at Riverside Park, replacing the exterior walls of the Citizens Center and making repairs to the exterior of City Hall.

The request also calls for improving the Route 97 (Broadway) gateway between the Target store and Lake Street with the addition of sidewalks, trees and street lights, as well as improving Water Street, another gateway to the inner city, by adding walking trails, bike paths and benches along the Merrimack River.

“A few years ago, we spent a small amount of money to cut down trees on Water Street to open a view of the river and the public loved it,” Fiorentini said. “One of the things we want to do is to get some (state) money to make this a beautiful gateway.”

He said the money he is requesting to improve the city’s gateways is seed money for designs and that he hopes to pay for larger improvements with state grant money.

“What we want to do is improve property values by making it a more beautiful city to live in,” he said.

Fiorentini defined a capital improvement as a major, non-routine expenditure for new construction, improvements to existing buildings, land or infrastructure with an estimated useful life of five years or more and a cost of $5,000 or more. Such improvements can also involve the purchase or refurbishment of major equipment with a cost of $25,000 or more.

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