Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is in the unique position to be involved in various local and statewide initiatives. We love working with our partners at all levels of government. One of the most exciting initiatives is MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI). TDI is an innovative statewide program that acts as an incubator for downtowns. Districts that are chosen get staffing and programs specially tailored to them to activate underutilized and/or disinvested neighborhoods. Two of the communities in the Merrimack Valley have TDI districts – Lawrence and Haverhill – and MVPC is a partner in both.
One of the big successes of the Haverhill TDI was the reimagining of the Goecke Parking Deck. A lot of time and resources were spent on how to reactivate and redevelop the underutilized 50-year-old municipal parking deck. After a lot of community input and events, the Haverhill Farmers Market decided to relocate its entire operation there. This move has been a tremendous success on many levels. The Farmers Market saw record numbers of customers, increased vendor interest, and record sales. The transformative impact that the farmers market has had on the downtown has been noticeable too – more people, increased civic engagement, more shopping, and community building.
MassINC is a nonprofit whose mission is “to identify and promote public policy that creates a pathway to opportunity for Massachusetts residents.” They are a leading think tank in Massachusetts and a thought leader on Gateway Cities. Dr. Tracy Corely of MassINC’s podcast “Gateways” took the train into Haverhill to check out the Farmers Market and talk about the intersection of food, urbanism, and public health.