Boston – The Boston/New England District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) announced the completion of its Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) of the Amesbury Lower Millyard District in Amesbury, Mass. The eight-person panel of land use and development experts observed current conditions and provided insight into potential redevelopment scenarios and placemaking strategies to address connectivity and wayfinding within the district. The panel took place from April 30 to May 4 and was sponsored by MassDevelopment.
In April, the eight panelists toured the district with public officials and members of a recently formed Lower Millyard Task Force and observed thriving businesses along with residents and young families accessing the Riverwalk. In addition, the panel identified vacant buildings and suboptimal uses that detracted from the thriving areas of the district. Following the site tour, panelists interviewed stakeholders to better understand the needs and goals of business owners, community members, and public officials. The panel recently presented its findings and recommendations in a public online meeting.
“In the Lower Millyard District, we saw a popular destination for residents with the potential to become more walkable with enhanced public amenities, greater connectivity to Main Street and the Upper Millyard, and future reuse of select parcels,” said Michael Wang, principal at Form + Place and TAP co-chair. “There is a renewed interest in revitalizing this area by both public leaders and community members, and we’re glad to be assisting in this effort.”
As part of its recommendations, the panel suggested a comprehensive planning process that considers parking, pedestrian circulation, expansion of public parks and green space, and engaging Amesbury landowners to understand their long-term interests. The findings and recommendations will be captured in a written report that will be submitted to the City of Amesbury this summer.
Amesbury’s Lower Millyard District has been the subject of many studies and plans throughout the years, and while the panel observed that many past recommendations have been implemented, the district still has several underutilized parcels that remain unconnected from the active Main Street. Once home to a thriving industrial base, the area had suffered from a lack of public and private investment over the course of many years. Recent public improvements including the Riverwalk and Heritage Park have drawn residents and visitors to the district which has revived discussions about appropriate land uses and public amenities. ULI Boston/New England was brought in to assess and provide recommendations.
“ULI’s Technical Assistance Panels seek to understand the viability of land use, and our experts utilize their significant real estate, planning, and development experience to assess each project,” stated Nyal McDonough, o-chair of the TAP panel assessing the Lower Millyard District. “The TAP process is part of ULI’s commitment to local communities and the organization’s continued effort to support local real estate, land use, and economic development needs across New England and the globe.”
To learn more about ULI and the TAP program, visit https://boston.uli.org/get-involved/technical-assistance-panels/.