The State of the City, 2009Good evening…
Mayor Pelosi, members of the faculty, students—city councilors and all of you, welcome and thank-you for coming here this evening. I want to thank the faculty and staff of Zion Bible College for hosting this, the city council and school committee of Haverhill for their hard work over the past year.We have several members of our legislative team here with us and I want to thank our legislative teamfor their hard work in bringing millions of dollars to our city.
Times are tough
Tonight, as I speak to you, America is in the midst of the greatest crisis since the great depression.This Great Recession has not spared Haverhill, nor will it but even in the height of this recession, goodthings are happening here in HaverhillI would like to spend a few minutes with you showing you a power point with some good things aboutthe city.Five years ago, the shoe shop district next to our downtown was all abandoned shoe factories—fireswaiting to happen, and buildings that added little to our tax rolls.We worked together with the city council to remove regulatory barriers and rezone the old shoe shoparea and build a new urban village. Tonight, we see the fruits of our labors.The old 5
Avenue Shoe building, abandoned for nearly 5 decades tonight lives again as the CordovanProject, as young people, instead of moving out of a dying shoe city as they did for decades, aremoving back in.
A block away
, the abandoned Hamel Leather Buildings was once the largest shoe shops in the country, but they were closed for three decades, and the rear of the building became a dump yard, the buildingsthemselves abandoned fire traps, a blot on our downtown.Tonight, those abandoned factories are undergoing a $70 million investment in our new downtown— what was once the Hamel Leather Building is today the Hamel Mills Lofts.Those buildings Hamel Mills Lofts and the Cordovan, together bring with them $100 million in newinvestment in our downtown, $150,000 in new recurring tax revenues, and every day, in the height of the Great Recession, 200 people are employed at good jobs, remodeling those buildings.These young people bring with them a new sense of vibrancy to our downtown, and new spending power. In the heart of the recession, new restaurants have opened in our downtown and on a Saturdaynight, in an area that once was only abandoned shoe shops, people flock to the best restaurant zonenorth of the north end.This new enthusiasm in our downtown brings something else. It brings State and Federal dollars to