EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 12, 2013

Leaders gather for regional breakfast

ANDOVER — Leaders from several local communities came together yesterday for a morning of laughs, ideas and celebration of towns without borders.

Ten town managers, city managers and mayors gathered at the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mayors & Managers Breakfast Forum at Andover Country Club yesterday.

Moderated by Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company Publisher Al Getler, the event put the community leaders in the spotlight to tell the regional business community how they fared in the past year and what is coming next for their towns.

“The economy of one community doesn’t stop at that border, but continues throughout the Merrimack Valley,” Joe Bevilacqua, MVCC president, said.

The event brought the following local leaders: Andover Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini, Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni and North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor.

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua did not respond to an invitation to the event and was not in attendance, according to Bevilacqua.

The following regional leaders also spoke at the event: Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer, Lowell City Manager Bernard Lynch and Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday.

At the event, Bevilacqua urged the leaders to support not just their local communities, but the region at large.

“If a community is not able to host a business as it grows and expands, and it goes to the next community, work together to support that,” he said. “The employees live in your region. You don’t want them to travel to another state or outside the region.”

Reading written-in comments from a recent citizen survey, Stapczynski said many Andover residents refer to other communities in the region when explaining how they want their town to change.

“One that struck me was, ‘Use Newburyport as a model for the perfect downtown,’” he said. “And then someone said, ‘We want a cinema like they have in the Loop [in Methuen].’ And then somebody wrote in, ‘Keep taxes down, or we’re going to move to North Andover.’”

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