Alex, thanks for your comments. The type of atmosphere you desire on Merrimack Street is precisely what we're trying to use our urban design study to set a roadmap for. Thanks for your input and engagement with the process so far.
Greg, thanks for your comments. A new boardwalk is being constructed along the river as we speak, and we hope to be able to get it extended in the future. I think we need to have new development along the river- these are the best redevelopment parcels in the city and an opportunity for us to bring in new residents and businesses that will improve the economy. We are looking for opportunities to have public spaces as well and public space elements, as well as river access, will be built into new developments.
Thanks for your comment. In what part of downtown do you feel there is not enough parking? Our analysis shows you can virtually always find a parking space downtown. As to live music, performance, and visual art, I completely agree, and it's something we've been working on. As we're trying to find a way to make these permanent investments, we have a great series of placemaking events happening over the next few months at Goecke Park on Merrimack Street. Follow "We Have it In Haverhill.." on Facebook for full list of events. I'm also posting flyers for the next two on this page.
Brian, thanks for your input. We've discussed trying to get a small event space and hotel downtown. The economics are tricky, but one thing we've been thinking about is how to create events and programming that will improve the market for a hotel. UMass Lowell's campus in Harbor Place is a critical piece of this. Remember that we're trying to increase pedestrian traffic on the street and help local businesses and create a better pedestrian atmosphere, so it's not ideal to create connections via above-ground walkways. We want to encourage people drawn downtown to walk around on the street, experience the downtown, and patronize local businesses.
Thanks Joe- great ideas to consider. Public art is something that a lot of people have mentioned and shouldn't be that hard to accomplish- we have a very talented arts community that we should showcase more prominently. Stay tuned for more work on that front.
Thanks for your comments, Brian. A lot of good ideas in here. One of the core things that we're working on is creating destinations downtown- as you say, a reason to go there. We're focusing on the 18-hour economy, which would include more people working downtown during the day, more people living downtown at night, and a robust retail sector. Underground parking is extremely expensive to build, and unfortunately the numbers don't seem work right now, even for larger developments. That said, we can still focus on building housing above retail and bringing innovative companies to the city in order to create that dynamic main street feel. We're also looking at how to develop boat slips/dock space to replicate the type of thing that you're talking about in Amesbury.