Mayor Fiorentini's Monthly
Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorentini
This month, I have so much
to report. Ive met a number of you, and you have
given me some excellent ideas. One of those ideas is the
Mayors Beautification Awards, an idea from reader
Jill Nelson who has agreed to help out with the program.
Weve put in for and received a number of grants:
Haverhill Receives Grants to Keep City Clean.
My summer travels to other cities continue this
week to Red Bank, New Jersey. This month, I took a page
from the cities I visited and organized the Mayors
Downtown Task Force. Thank you for your interest in our
great city and thank you for helping to make Haverhill
I start this month with what is a prime concern of mine
and a prime concern for many of you: public education.
Improving Public Education
This week, I called for a new program to require that
kids who fail the MCAS stay after school and, if
necessary, go to school through the summer in order to
improve their scores.
Dr, James A. Peyser, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board
of Education, recommended 45 minutes of mandatory
after-school MCAS tutoring for under-performing districts
to turn them around. Why wait until we are notified we
are an under-performing district? We need to do this now.
As I indicated in my press release: We have talked
about MCAS scores for years. It is time for action. It is
time to get over we cant do anything because
of the budget attitude and take immediate and
strong action to improve MCAS scores.
We know that after-school programs and summer school
programs work to bring up test scores and improve
education. We need to make this a priority. I have
convened a task force of myself, and School Committee
members Erin Francescone and Kerry Fitzgerald, to try to
put this together and to look for creative ways to fund
Best Practices Red Bank New Jersey
I spent a portion of the summer visiting cities that have
revitalized their downtowns and meeting with their mayors
and planning officials. This week, I visited Red Bank,
New Jersey and had a delightful visit with Mayor Ed
McKenna, Jr. Red Bank is a city that was once in such
decline that people often referred to it as Dead
Bank. Red Bank faced some familiar issues downtown
should they charge for parking?
Should they put in a Business Investment District, where
businesses pay extra and all the money is used to
beautify the area? Should they have residential permits
to park downtown? Should they put in a boardwalk? These
are all the same challenges we face in downtown
Haverhill. Like Haverhill, Red Bank has a two-tiered tax
system, where businesses pay more than residents for real
Mayor McKenna put in pay for parking, and put in a
Business Investment District over the strong
objections of many of the downtown merchants. Today, Red
Bank is a thriving city with a wonderful downtown, a
boardwalk along its river, and a thriving arts district.
Downtown real estate values have skyrocketed. Mayor
McKenna thinks he knows why strong leadership from
the mayors office and BID a Business
You can read more about this amazing turnaround, from
Dead Bank to Red Bank, by visitng their website.
Mayors Downtown Task Force
Taking a page from Providence and New Haven, two cities I
visited earlier in the summer, I have appointed a Mayors
Task Force on Downtown Master Planning. I have asked our
panel to look at all the various plans and ideas for
downtown and to create an overall vision on what the
downtown should be. On the Task Force are representatives
of local businesses, local banks, architects, historic
preservationists, a downtown restaurant owner, planners,
and a downtown resident.
Thus far, the Task Force has made two recommendations:
* Expand the traditional definition of downtown to
include the area where the old shoe factories were
located, an area we hope to revitalize and;
* Downtown should be mixed use housing or offices
on the top floors and retail, where possible, on the
What do you think?
Mayor Reactivates Open Space Committee
We have 33 square miles of land in Haverhill. We have a
population density of 1,807 people per square mile.
We are far less densely populated than cities like
Lawrence and Lowell, and slightly less densely populated
than Newburyport. That is our charm: we have open space,
we have rural areas and we want to keep it that way.
Later this month Ill be reconstituting the Open
Space and Recreation Committee and giving it the charge
of updating our open space and recreation plan. Would you
like to serve? Let me know.
Haverhill Receives Grants to Keep City Clean
Haverhill received two grants to help us keep the city
A grant from the Workforce Investment Board puts 50 kids
ages 14-17 to work at various work stations throughout
the city. Look for them downtown and in the parks and
playgrounds wearing Clean Sweep 06 T shirts.
We also put in for and received a grant to employ people
to clean up areas that were damaged by the flood. We have
targeted the trails near Winnekenni.
We also received help from Haverhills Brightside,
which has purchased a number of new trash barrels and
cigarette butt holders for downtown.
We are really making an effort, with grant money, to keep
our city looking cleaner but we can not do it
alone. We need everyones help. Many business owners
sweep the front of their store every day, and we
encourage every single owner to do that. We need every
single downtown owner to put away the cigarette butts and
the trash from the night before. We need store owners to
periodically wash their sidewalks, water the new plants
we have planted and we need everyone to do, as so many of
our merchants do now, to take a small area, adopt it, and
agree to water the plants and pick up the area.
So many of you help out in so many ways. I am very proud
of the city. Many of you take time to clean the storm
drains in front of you house, sweep the street and
sidewalks in your area. I have seen some of you pick up
one item as you walk along, and I have seen others say to
people who are littering we are trying to keep our
city clean, please do not throw that. I thank all
of you for all that you do. If every single resident
pitched in, we would have the cleanest city around, and
that should be our goal.
Mayors Beautification Awards
One of our readers, Jill Nelson, gave me a terrific idea
on how to encourage and support those individuals, groups
and businesses who go out of their way to beautify our
city. This summer, I will be instituting shortly the
Mayors Beautification Awards. Do you know of a
group that has voluntarily cleaned up areas of the city?
Do you know of businesses who have put out flower boxes
or cleaned up the outside of their store? Do you know of
individuals who have made the front of their own property
more beautiful? I want to hear about it. Send me an
email, with either a photograph or a brief description of
the work. Later this summer, well be giving out
awards. Stay tuned.
A few of you have written to me with concerns about our
growth, so I asked our summer interns to put together
Over the long haul, Haverhill s population has
remained relatively stable. Here are the numbers going
back to 1920.
As you can see, we had almost as many people living here
in 1920 as we do today. The population of Haverhill
actually went backwards for decades and stayed flat for
decades. Losing population is the worst thing that can
happen to a city businesses (which need customers
to survive) leave and property values plummet. We never
want to go back to the days when we were a dying shoe
town. We are rapidly becoming a popular community, and
that is what we want to be.
In recent years, growth has slowed. The big growth spurt
in Haverhill was from 1990 to 2000, and growth has slowed
from 2000 to 2005. Population growth from 1900 to 2000
was at 1.5% a year, but slowed to about a third of that
rate from 2000 to 2005 under a half percent a year
Many of you are worried about overcrowding in our
Our school population over the past five years has been
going down, not up. Over the past five years, city
population went up by 1,500 people, while the number of
school children went down by almost 1,000.
There are a variety of reasons. Here is one: the average
household size in Haverhill is dropping from an
average family size of 2.9 in 1980 to 2.55 in 1990 to
2.51 today. There are other reasons, and I will address
them in future editions. I expect this years school
population to go back up, but not to the level it was at
Meeting the Public
One reason I am so proud to be your mayor is the terrific
people I meet all around the city who volunteer to help
their city. Here are just a few I met this month:
· At the Landlords Guild meeting, I met Dina
Buccieri, who has volunteered to be on the Mayors
Task Force on Marketing;
· At Coffee with the Mayor at the Rocks
Village Fire Station, I met Bill Woodhouse, who
volunteered to be on the Open Space and Recreation
· Also at the Rocks Village Fire Station, I met
Christine Kwitchoff, who volunteered to help with
· Jill Nelson, who came up with a terrific idea for the
Mayors Beautification Awards.
Thank you all for helping to make Haverhill better!
Every Friday night, now through August 11th: concerts on
Tuesday, August 1-- National Night out, 6-9 pm, outside
of the First Baptist Church located at 217 Main St. The
event is sponsored by the Haverhill Police Department and
is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention. The
event is open to the public with complimentary food and
beverages and giveaways for the kids from 6 pm 9
August 3rd, GED Graduation at NECCO. Opening remarks at
6:00 pm, Haverhill partners for literacy
Friday, August 16th, 7:00 am. Community Action Golf
Tournament. Crystal Springs, 940 North Broadway.
August 26th. Battle of the Local Bands. Ending with a
performance by Entrain.
Things to do Every Day:
· Visit our great public library! Take out a book, or
check their web page at http://www.haverhillpl.org/ for a schedule of events
for adults and children.
· Check out a great Web site, where you can download
books and listen - unfortunately, not on an IPOD, but
still a great deal.
Last week I asked, What sort of a downtown would
you like to see for Haverhill? A solid majority
said mixed use, housing and commercial.
This weeks question: What person or group would you
like to nominate to receive the Mayors
Beautification Awards? Please attach a brief description
or a photograph.
*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The August, 2006 Edition
of the Valley Patriot
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All Contents (C) 2006, Valley Patriot, Inc.
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