Haverhill takes big steps to spruce up its parks

Visitors to Winnekenni Park recently include (from left)  Stuart Hannan and his daughter; Cara and Reiss Malo; and Dave and Drew Swinson.
Visitors to Winnekenni Park recently include (from left) Stuart Hannan and his daughter; Cara and Reiss Malo; and Dave and Drew Swinson.Photos by Lisa Poole for the Boston Globe

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After languishing for more than a decade, the picturesque Hannah Duston park on a secluded stretch of River Street in Haverhill is once again welcoming visitors.

The park, just a few feet from the Methuen town line, was closed in 1998 after it became a gathering place for troublemakers. Its rebirth reflects the city’s renewed commitment to restoring its parks and playgrounds, from roadside respites to Winnekenni Park, the largest and most popular of Haverhill’s recreational areas.

More than $150,000 is dedicated to park and playground improvements in Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s $162.6 million spending plan for this fiscal year, including $100,000 that has been earmarked for work at Riverside and Winnekenni parks and the Plug Pond area. Those funds will be used to renovate restrooms, install new playground equipment and park benches, and better maintain the facilities, the mayor said.

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