Haverhill hopeful for summer river kayaking
by Mike LaBella, Eagle Tribune
Looking ahead to this summer — and hopefully beyond the coronavirus — the mayor wants to offer residents a new way to enjoy the Merrimack River — and he has a plan to do so. The same organization that made a four-day trip down the river last year is poised to bring kayaking to downtown Haverhill, should the idea move forward. Mayor James Fiorentini gained the approval of the City Council to use $9,000 from a reserve account to buy a portable booth that would serve as a mini-office for Plum Island Kayak. The business would use this as a satellite location along the downtown boardwalk next to Riverfront Park off Washington Street. "Kayaking has been growing each year," said Ken Taylor, owner of Plum Island Kayak. "The river is really an untapped resource for Haverhill, where there is hardly any use of the river at all." He said he would rent kayaks to customers and provide them with information as to where to travel on the river and how to time their trip in regards to tide changes. "We can also provide guided tours, where we have it all planned out including transportation," he said. "Once we get over the virus, people are going to be looking for something to do." It is expected to take about 10 weeks of lead time to get the project ready for summer, the mayor said. "I am sensitive to the timing of this request during the ongoing coronavirus public health emergency, but the schedule of construction and delivery of the structure cannot wait if want to be ready by summer," Fiorentini said. "Given the social isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the chance to provide the public with fun, healthy, outdoors activities on the river once this public health crisis is over has the potential to be a great remedy."