No more poles in sidewalks: At a recent City Council meeting, a hearing was held on a request by Verizon and National Grid for several utility poles, including one on Main Street in front of the new Wadleigh House, a home for low-income men. Councilors said they did not want to see poles located in the middle of the sidewalk, like what has happened along a stretch of South Main Street as part of the state’s Route 125 reconstruction project. The Lamplighter drove by the Wadleigh House, which isn’t finished yet, and noticed the new utility pole was placed at the edge of the curb, and in line with other poles, just as councilors asked.
Keeping insurance costs down: Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Mayor James Fiorentini, state Rep. Brian Dempsey and other local officials recently toured the downtown floodwall, which has been flagged by the Army Corps of Engineers for non-compliance because it has not passed its last several inspections. Last year, Tsongas and representatives from her office joined with Fiorentini, Dempsey and city officials to develop a plan for repairs. Tsongas’ office supported the city’s application for a federal grant to repair the floodwall, which is currently in the competitive review process. Last year, Dempsey secured a $4 million MassWorks grant for infrastructure improvements in the Merrimack Street corridor. Tsongas said this state and federal partnership will help secure the money needed for repairs, keeping flood insurance costs for downtown businesses from skyrocketing.
A sign of change: The Lamplighter was in the Westgate Plaza area recently and, while driving down River Street, noticed a sign for the Hampton Inn. The Lamplighter called the hotel and the front desk manager said the property, formerly Comfort Suites at 106 Bank Road, underwent eight months of renovations and reopened Dec. 20 as the Hampton Inn Haverhill, a Hilton Worldwide business.