hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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March 27, 2014

This Week in Haverhill

(Continued)

Haverhill has a temporary ban on the dispensaries until Nov. 18, while the city decides the best place for one.

Regardless of the status of the Healthy Pharms proposal, the city must create a zone for a dispensary or risk the likelihood the state would allow a company with a license to open one anywhere it wants.

The dispensaries will eventually be set up because two years ago the state’s voters approved the use of medical marijuana by patients who receive a prescription from their doctor.

— Shawn Regan

Mayor won’t commit to opening entire park

Mayor James Fiorentini said he is considering a request from City Council and neighbors of Merrimack River Park on Route 110 to open the full stretch of the picturesque property this summer.

However, Fiorentini said he is undecided and has concerns about the cost and the possible return of crime to the park.

“I am quite proud of my record of improving parks and playgrounds and opening this park for the first time in 20 years,” Fiorentini said. “I understand the request and it is a reasonable one. I also understand the council’s request, made the very same evening (March 18) to put more money into police and add more police officers. ...In the end the budget has to balance and the numbers have to add up. I cannot spend what I do not have.

“I will certainly take this request under consideration,” he said. “I would like absolutely nothing better than to be able to say that I opened more of this park, but until I look at everything, I just cannot commit to this.”

The park, formerly know as Hannah Duston Rest Area, is sandwiched between Route 110 and the Merrimack River near the Methuen line. It was closed around 1998 because it became a place for criminal activity, including partying, drug use and sexual liaisons.

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