OCTOBER 15, 2019
MAYOR DONNA D. HOLADAY
High St.: We are continuing our efforts to address the significant problems on High St. resulting from the poor striping by our contractor, Hi-Way Safety, and the damaging impact to the paving work from the removal of the painted lines. Over the past two weeks we have held two executive sessions with City Council, held a meeting with key personnel from Hi-Way Safety and have been working with our legal counsel KP Law on a resolution. We are also proceeding with hiring an independent pavement expert, ATC, who will take core samples of both the damaged and undamaged areas of High Street to further evaluate the condition of the roadway. ATC has already completed one site visit to High St. and their preliminary inspection confirmed that the road has been compromised. Our goal is to have the road repaved and re-striped early this spring at Hi-Way safety’s expense. Any crosswalks impacted by the paint removal will be corrected within the next few weeks.
PLUM ISLAND AED: Public Safety concerns have been addressed and resolved and the AED unit was installed on the Harbormaster shack. Additional trainings will be coordinated for PI residents on the use of the AED.
Road Paving Plan: Out consultant Beta Engineering has completed an assessment of every street and sidewalk in our city. We are holding a public meeting next Tuesday, Oct. 22nd at 7 PM for Beta will present the findings and recommendation for the City’s paving plan. Our goal is to create a workable, fiscally responsible, long-term paving plan that addresses priority roads, identifies roads with infrastructure replacement needs (water, sewer and/or gas lines) as well as sidewalks. The presentation will be available on the city’s website immediately following the meeting.
Vaping: Last month Governor Baker placed a temporary, 4 month ban on all vaping products given the alarming rate of illness and deaths resulting from vaping. Our Health Department has worked with every business in the city to remove vaping items. For the past 18 months, Cathy Riccio, Nurse Leader of the Newburyport Public Schools has been aggressively working on this issue of youth vaping. The Superintendent and School Committee will be hosting a forum on Monday night, October 21st at the Nock Middle School Auditorium on Vaping. There will be a short School Committee meeting at 6:30 pm with forum starting around 7 pm. Health, Youth, Public Safety, School and one of the leading experts on vaping will be in attendance.
NRA Funding: The Redevelopment Authority approved funding to create new lawn and expand green park space in the areas of the Central Waterfront where parking has been reduced. The adding of loam and seeding of this area needs to be completed now in order to have healthy lawn. The Parks Department will complete the work starting next week and I ask for your support of the emergency request before you tonight.
Opioid Treatment DOJ Grant: The City was awarded a $600,000 grant from the US Department of Justice as the lead community of a regional effort to address opioid addiction and treatment. We will be submitting a formal request for City Council acceptance with additional details at your next Council meeting. Thank you to the Police Department and Inspector Dani Sinclair for their important work in this area, as well as to our grant writer Nancy London who pulled together this complex grant application together.
Merrimack Valley Planning Commission: MVPC Executive Director Karen Conard will be leaving her position in December to become the City Manager for Portsmouth, NH. Karen has supported the City in many of our initiatives, including coordinating our regional efforts to take on the Merrimack River CSO issue. We wish her the best and she will be missed.
Additional Recording of Public Meetings: We have been working with NCM on a plan to increase the number of board and committee public meetings that can be recorded and available through public access television. Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings are the first priority. We hope to finalize the plan in the next month.