HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini will kick off the city’s public outreach campaign for its first master plan in 20 years at a community meeting on Wednesday, May 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Consentino School.
The project, titled "Vision Haverhill 2035" will guide the city’s progress for at least the next 15 years and will help determine, among other things, where future schools, businesses, homes, parks and playgrounds should be built, the mayor said.
The kickoff and listening workshop will introduce the public to the master plan process, present an analysis of existing conditions by the Utile Architecture and Planning firm and consider input from residents.
"This is about deciding what the Haverhill of the future will look like," Fiorentini said. "We want to hear from a broad spectrum of the public, not just consultants and city officials. We really want a good turnout because we want the residents of the city to help us set the vision for the next 15 years or more."
Haverhill’s current master plan was developed in the 1990s and is more than 20 years old, the mayor said.
"Our new master plan can encourage the right kind of development that brings us jobs, provides our citizens with homes to live in, and protects our environment as well as the beauty and history of our city,” Fiorentini said. "This plan can create the Haverhill of the future the same way that we recreated and revitalized our downtown – by using zoning as an incentive to encourage what we want and discourage what we do not want."
The mayor said the kickoff meeting will present information about Haverhill’s population and housing trends and will delve into the city’s history. It will also provide an inventory and analysis of future needs regarding open space, economic development and natural resources and assets, he said.
"If you come to this meeting, you’ll learn what this is all about and what we’re doing, and you might find out some really interesting things about Haverhill you may not have known," the mayor said.
City Council President John Michitson reacted positively to the mayor's announcement.
"I think it is great that the city is moving ahead with a master plan, primarily for zoning and physical aspects of Haverhill, such as buildings, which is part of a broader comprehensive plan that we have desperately needed for 20 years," he said. "More importantly, we need to take a good look under the hood and address the critical challenges that impact our quality of life, especially education, public safety, good jobs and our finances."
Michitson said the master plan will address some of these concerns, as well as concerns for creating new business parks to attract new businesses to the city.
But, Michitson said the master plan can go only so far in charting a course for the city's future.
"Without a more comprehensive plan, we will continue to make short-sighted decisions on allocation of our scarce funding," he said.
Fiorentini stressed the master plan will focus on the needs of the entire city and all its residents.
“We’re holding this at Consentino School because the heart of Haverhill is and has always been our neighborhoods,” the mayor said, noting that Consentino is in the state pipeline to be substantially renovated or rebuilt in the next few years.
Members of the mayor's Master Plan Committee included James Rurak, Dougan Sherwood, Gene O’Neil, George Moriarty, Gary Ortiz, Jenny Arndt, Lynda Brown, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, Mike Drossos, Mike Stankovich, Rob Moore, Steve Gullo and Bill Pillsbury.