EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 22, 2014

Team Haverhill plans city's future at annual event

By Shawn Regan
sregan@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — Past successes of the Team Haverhill civic organization include citywide curbside recycling, revitalization of the farmers market and creation of the downtown festival known as River Ruckus.

The seeds of the group’s next project are expected to be sown at its annual “Possible Dreams” visioning event Monday Jan. 27 at Northern Essex Community College’s Technology Center in Haverhill.

This year’s theme “Step by Step” promises to look back at the big and small steps that have advanced Haverhill’s burgeoning revitalization and anticipate the redevelopment of some of the city’s most prominent buildings and property along the Merrimack River and Merrimack Street end of downtown.

City Council President John Michitson called the event the perfect venue for anyone with an idea to make Haverhill better.

“Team Haverhill always has real projects underway resulting from on-going planning,” Michitson said. “The Possible Dreams event is a fun and thought-provoking evening where everyone’s view counts. ... It’s great for new residents, life-long Hillies, and everyone in between.”

A press release from Team Haverhill describes the event as “an upbeat community conversation that celebrates Haverhill’s progress, elicits community aspirations, and fosters new connections.”

“Our year always starts with the Possible Dreams event,” organizer and former Team Haverhill president Alice Mann said. “It’s a really upbeat, lively community conversation about the things we can accomplish as a city if we all work together. Imagine the new steps that Haverhill’s institutions, organizations and individuals will take to make dreams come true in 2014 and beyond.”

This year’s program includes a review of some of the group’s most successful endeavors.

Since 2008, Team Haverhill’s visioning events have spurred successful initiatives such as citywide curbside recycling, revitalization of the city’s farmers market and the creation of the River Ruckus festival, which was held in 2010, 2011 and last year.

Mann said the farmers market had shrunk to just two vendors before Team Haverhill made expanding it a top goal a few years ago. The market now features more than two dozen vendors, live entertainment and activities for children.

Plans for the downtown community mural on Essex Street and the “Shoes of Haverhill” project were also hatched at previous “Possible Dreams” events.

There is no cost to participate in the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. with coffee and sign-in. Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-registration is requested by visiting teamhaverhill.org/projects/community/possible-dreams/, or by sending an email to possibledreams@teamhaverhill.org.