NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Haverhill plans multimillion construction project in a rural neighborhood

A new development project has brought out mixed emotions among local residents. Joseph’s Trattoria is currently occupying the lot at 145 Oxford Ave. off of Route 125 in Haverhill, though with news of a multimillion dollar construction project on the horizon this will all soon change.

The Haverhill City Council recently voted unanimously on Nov. 10 to approve plans by the owners of Joseph’s Trattoria to construct a retail and residential complex set to include two hundred residential units, private event space, a newly built restaurant, and several new retail spaces.

The family that owns Joseph’s have already constructed a similar development in Salem, New Hampshire, with more than 20 million dollars being invested to construct the shopping plaza connected to an adjoining 74 unit residential community.
There are also plans to construct an artisan grocery store similar to the Tuscan Market also in Salem New Hampshire. Its estimated tax revenue from the complex could bring in an additional $270,000 a year in revenue for the city of Haverhill, if everything goes as planned.

Mayor James Fiorentini of Haverhill published a letter in support of the project, saying the development will help create a walkable shopping center for local residents, calling the project ‘One of the finest developments to come to this city in some time.”

While some are enthusiastic about the potential new economic opportunities might have, others are more wary when it comes to the impact it’ll have on the surrounding community.

Critics have suggested that the city’s infrastructure might not be up to par to support such a massive community, with potential plumbing and water pressure issues being discussed as a potential problem in the future.
Civil Engineer Rick Friberg identified several key issues city officials and residents had with the project at the city council meeting on Nov. 1.

Several people have already voiced their concerns regarding impact the village will have on local roadways and traffic safety, though city officials have attempted to quell these concerns with plans for additional traffic lights and sidewalk installation in place to deal with the increased traffic the project will bring.

Some residents are unhappy with the potential additional traffic to their neighborhoods and fear the project could make what was once a quiet community far more crowded than they’d hoped for.

Crescent Farms owner Mike Davidowicz questioned at the Nov. 1 City Council meeting how the city planned to increase the availability of water in the area, which is already an ongoing issue in the neighborhood.

He stressed the importance of being cautious when it comes to new development projects that might negatively impact unoccupied land in Haverhill, especially considering Crescent Farms has been in operation for nearly a century.
“We preserved our land and we want it to remain open space. It’s kind of like The OJ case,” he said in reference to the construction plan, “the glove just doesn’t fit here.”

It’s still unclear whether or not local residents and the property developers plan to work out an arrangement as the start date for construction on the new property looms closer and closer.

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