Lower Millyard Revitalization


For over 20 years, the Lower Millyard has experienced a lot of activity, including:

  • Numerous studies and plans
  • Realignment of Water StreetLower Millyard Aerial Photo
  • Environmental remediation
  • Redevelopment of old mills into collaborative and flexible work spaces for manufacturing, breweries, office, and other new businesses
  • Relocation of the Department of Public Works outside downtown
  • Development of Heritage Park 
  • Opening of the Riverwalk Trail

With all of this activity over such a long period we wanted to take an opportunity to regroup and revisit what the vision is for the Lower Millyard District. What is/are the best use(s) for this District, including City-owned land and historic buildings? How do we make a stronger connection to our transit/community center? How can we make a stronger connection between the Lower Millyard District and our Central Business District? These and other questions were the focal points of initial visioning and assessments that were reinvigorated in 2021.

Creating a New Vision

To create a 21st Century vision, the City applied for a grant in September 2020 to secure the services of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to convene a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) to guide us. The TAP was a several-day-long process where 8 ULI members (who are experts in land use) evaluated the reinvestment and redevelopment opportunities present in the Lower Millyard District. To guide the development and implementation of the vision, the City established a Lower Millyard Task Force in February 2021. This Task Force collected information, studies, plans, data, and other resources to help the ULI TAP establish a baseline and understand the opportunities and challenges in the District. The Task Force was also instrumental in creating a list of stakeholders who can help us develop an implementable vision. Stakeholders were interviewed as part of the ULI TAP process. Here was the timeline the Visioning process followed:

  • February 2021: Development of the Lower Millyard Task Force in late February 2021. 
  • March 2021: met with ULI Co-Chairs and conducted a walkabout of the District to orient everyone. The Lower Millyard Task Force was present, as was MassDevelopment.
  • April 16, 2021: a Briefing was conducted with the ULI Technical Assistance Panel (ULI TAP) to introduce the resources available and answer any questions
  • April 30, 2021: ULI TAP conducted a site visit to physically introduce everyone to the District. 
  • April 30, 2021: ULI TAP conducted interviews with key stakeholders 
  • May 4, 2021: ULI TAP Visioning Presentation (presentations can be found below)
  • Summer 2021: Report from ULI TAP will be delivered to the City - View Report (PDF)

The ULI TAP's work was presented at Visioning Presentation on Tuesday, May 4th at 6 pm. The live presentations can be viewed below, as well as the PowerPoint slides:

Live Presentation Part 1 | Live Presentation Part 2 | PowerPoint Slides (PDF)

View the Final TAP Report (PDF)

Next Steps - Reimagining a Resilient Downtown Amesbury Project

In the Summer of 2021, the City applied for a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration funds to follow up on the vision and begin assessing where both the Lower Millyard and Downtown's strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities are, and how we can build resilience to the environmental, economic and social challenges that Amesbury is experiencing and will face in the future. This project, called the Resilient Downtown Amesbury Project, was conducted by Resilient Cities Catalyst and a diverse group of stakeholders. Please visit the project page for more information and follow the progress of our revitalization efforts.