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Yard Sale Anyone?
Bob DesMarais, Haverhill City Council

As with large corporations such as Sarah lee and Philip Morris, selling off portions of their non-productive companies, Haverhill has decided to do something similar.  For many years Haverhill has owned or taken by tax title, small and not so small pieces of real estate. 

We have recently contracted with Allyn auction co., Lynn, Ma. to hold a public auction in late may 2005.  The list will consist of over 100 parcels and buildings that can be more useful and productive in private hands.

The long-range thinking is that the auction money produced will be well used to repair existing buildings or go into the rather shallow general fund.

The most attractive piece of property appears to be the unused police sub-station, on Washington Street.  It was formerly known as St. George’s church.  The city acquired the property in a land swap arrangement with the Boston archdiocese.  All saints parish needed land on Blaisdell street for additional parking of their now combined parish, and the city in turn, wanted a sub-station for the police department in the Mt. Washington area. An arrangement was struck for both needs. 

Many of the remaining parcels fall into the category of a “yard sale”.  This concept first surfaced in Boston under mayor tom Menino.  He felt that many landowners in Boston lived next to small, non-revenue, producing lots. Many of these properties could be attached to and even developed as next door lots.

Mayor Fiorentini, as a councilor, brought this concept to the council and we have been pursuing the plan ever since.  After selling six small attachable lots, fire department alarm headquarters, and two schools, the council felt that a larger sale of many properties would be more productive and quicker to produce real estate revenues.  The Allyn auction co. plans a large scale promotional effort for this event and encourages all "potential neighbors” and “developers” to look into possibilities for themselves and help the city as well.

Recently, the city agreed to sell several acres of land across from the Bradford railroad station, to Merrimack towers.  It is their intent to put up approximately 136 condos in three phases.  The non-productive property on the river, which formerly housed a shoe industry business, will go back on the tax rolls as a revenue producer and the city will enjoy a shot in the arm of one time money for over three million dollars.

“Yard sale anybody?

Bob DesMarais is a member of the Haverhill City Council. You can email him at MRDcrown@verizon.net

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Prior Columns By Bob DesMarais