A $3.8 billion state economic development bill, sidelined last summer when officials grappled with returning surplus money to taxpayers, won approval last week with earmarks for Haverhill redevelopment projects downtown and at the abandoned Dutton Airport and supporting a Methuen Youth and Community Center as well as other wish list items.
The bill delivers on promises by Rep. Andy X. Vargas, to cover public costs surrounding Lupoli Companies’ downtown redevelopment project and Haverhill’s Dutton Airport Redevelopment, and Sen. Diana DiZoglio, to pay $5 million for the Methuen youth center and downtown projects in Methuen and North Andover as well as other regional projects.
“Our cities and towns need every possible resource as they embark on greatly needed projects,” said DiZoglio. “That is why I am so grateful we were able to secure these funds, with unanimous support, toward important projects in our communities that are designed to bolster the local economy and overall quality of living.”
Haverhill plans to create a new business park at the former airport off Route 110 and support a Merrimack Street development project, establishing new residential, commercial and retail space; a parking garage; and other public amenities.
“This is the largest one-time investment in Haverhill’s downtown issued during my tenure,” said Vargas. “This funding will aid a transformational project for our downtown, creating sorely needed housing and opportunities for jobs and businesses. This is coupled with funding to aid our downtown’s economic recovery, and funding to develop a vacant and unkept airfield. Haverhill’s best days are still ahead.”
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