By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — City Council President John Michitson is pushing for the city to host a conference next month designed to “organize the development of a comprehensive plan” designed to attract companies, add jobs and boost the city’s commercial and industrial tax base.
Michitson laid out his vision for the conference and economic plan at the city’s inauguration of government officials earlier this month. More recently, he said he has been working with Mayor James Fiorentini and other city officials to make it happen.
“I am seeking consensus from local and regional government officials, business and education leaders, and most importantly Haverhill residents on developing a comprehensive plan for Haverhill, with an initial focus on economic development, since it is so fundamental to our success and it is the biggest uncertainty in our future,” Michitson said.
Michitson said pieces of the plan have already emerged, such as Fiorentini’s campaign to rezone property and under-used buildings along the Merrimack River to encourage new housing and commercial ventures, and the Team Haverhill civic volunteer group’s annual visioning event Monday.
“Pieces of the vision have already emerged in various settings, but the whole picture needs to be pulled together into a statement that gives more guidance to all of our institutions and stakeholders,” Michitson said.
Michitson said the plan, once formulated, won’t gather dust.
“The goal is to have immediate actions based on the draft plan while it is being developed, including analyzing trends in a wide range of existing and emerging economic sectors and their potential for relocation to Haverhill,” he said. “The Comprehensive Plan must integrate how we intend to help make Haverhill a better place to live, learn, work and play in the next 10 to 20 years.”
Michitson stressed his proposed conference is still in the planning stage, but he said he wants to invite residents, local and regional governmental officials, and business and education leaders.
He said the city of Somerville just went through a similar process to build its comprehensive plan, which is called SomerVision.
“So we have a model that we can adapt to Haverhill,” Michitson said.