Amesbury, Massachusetts – Essex County

May 1, 2023
Amesbury, Massachusetts - Essex County

Amesbury, Massachusetts

A charming New England town that is as dynamic as it is historic


With investments in infrastructure, new business, and its residents, Amesbury, MA lights the way

With a new master plan underway, the city of Amesbury, Massachusetts has been working hard over the past few years to constantly improve itself and attract new business. This hard work is starting to pay off. The quintessential New England town of over 17,000 is becoming the place to be with new businesses moving in, sustainable measures taking root, and a plethora of recreational opportunities for residents to keep active and enjoy nature.

Amesbury, Massachusetts - Essex County

Kassandra Gove, Mayor

“It’s a really desirable place to be,” says Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove. “We have a robust city center, but we’re also surrounded by green space, which is really unique and different from our neighboring communities where we have all of our still-active farmlands and protected open space. We have these rolling hills and trails with places to walk your dog or go for a trail run.”

Amesbury introduced its master plan, I AMesbury 2030, back in 2021 and has been heavily relying on community involvement ever since to create a cohesive vision for the city’s future.

“We started with local feedback and listening sessions to hear about what mattered most to the community and looking at our past documents to see what we’ve achieved, what we needed to celebrate, and what we’ve missed,” Gove recalls. “We wanted to find out what we could do to overcome some of the hurdles that we’ve seen.”

To do so, the I AMesbury task force came up with eight different elements that affect their city to make up their master plan. Those elements are open space and recreation, learning and education, arts and culture, mobility, infrastructure, economic development, housing, and municipal operations.

They’re looking at each of those elements under three lenses: equity, health, and resilience and sustainability.

“We’re using the eight elements and three lenses with lots of community engagement from stakeholders about what matters to make sure our government is aligned with their priorities,” Gove explains. “We want to make sure our departments, committees, and commissions are serving the community in a way that’s helping us reach our goals.”

While the visioning process is still underway, the fruits of the city’s labor are starting to blossom. When it comes to economic development, Amesbury has some exciting new prospects on the horizon.

Amesbury is on the hunt for new industry and is looking to fill 6.7 acres of surplus land, the site of a former truck stop that has been vacant since the early 2000s. The city has been working with the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission for the past 15 years to conduct environmental assessments on the property. Now that the land has been deemed safe for development, they’re looking to put it back on the tax roll.

Amesbury, Massachusetts - Essex County

Angela Cleveland, Amesbury’s Director of Community and Economic Development

“As we went through the public process of understanding what could go on this property, we thought about emerging industries and we explored what would make the most sense in this space and we engaged the public in this exploration,” says Angela Cleveland, Amesbury’s Director of Community and Economic Development.

The site is limited by an adjacent solar field and a nearby residential neighborhood, but it comes to the market with the benefit of accessibility. It’s steps from I-495 and just 1.6 miles from I-95. That gives whoever takes over the space direct access to New Hampshire and nearby Boston.

Through planning, public input, and studies of the area, Amesbury has determined that the ideal land use for the property would be in the artificial intelligence/robotics and medical/pharmaceutical research industries; both of which have been expanding in Massachusetts over the past several years.

“I have actually been to a couple of these locations, specifically robotics, and it’s not a lot of noise, there are no emissions from it, and it tends to be a fun place to showcase, so it would be an opportunity to engage the community, as well,” Cleveland says.

Amesbury has a request for proposals (RFP) out now before a municipal disposition committee makes the final decision in the coming months.

“We’re excited to see what comes in and hoping we can really see that process move fast,” Cleveland adds.

Adding even more development to the city’s business landscape is Amesbury’s longest and largest manufacturer, Munters Corporation. The Swedish-based environmental systems sales and manufacturer has held court in Amesbury for over 60 years, with a third of its workforce of 300 living right in the city. Their climate control solutions serve many industries including food, pharmaceuticals, and the lithium batteries being used in electric automobiles. Now, they’re looking to expand their operations.

“They contribute to the economy through their workers, all 300 of them, not just the ones that live in Amesbury, but also through visitors that come to Amesbury,” Cleveland says “Our local hotels see the benefit, and so do our restaurants and other retail and commercial industries. And they also purchase supplies through local business, supporting our local economic development ecosystem.”

Over the past several months, Amesbury has been working with Munters to expand its facility to 420,000 square feet and with it, add an additional 70-100 jobs to the city.

“Given its manufacturing, it’s helping us diversify our tax base, and it’s expanding, we’re excited to be part of their expansion to a new space through both our support from staff in their developmental review process, but also through granting them a tax increment finance incentive (TIF),” Cleveland says.

Amesbury has to be calculated in how it invites new business and expands existing ones because of its limited area, so to have two new opportunities on the docket at once is exciting, Gove says.

“We’re a small city. We don’t have a lot of room for growth,” she says. “To see a parcel ready to be built on and have the RFP out there for an emerging industry means we could see a great new company joining our business community. Together with seeing Munters staying in Amesbury and growing will make the next few years a really exciting time for us.

Our location makes it easy for folks to jump the border into New Hampshire, so to be able to keep them here and give them the opportunity for growth is amazing. On top of that, the current location they’re in will be vacant and provide more opportunity for another company, where typically there’s not a lot of movement for companies of this size here.”

Amesbury, Massachusetts - Essex County

Porch Fest
Photo courtesy Kate Donovan

On the recreation and open spaces side of the city’s master plan, Amesbury has been working to capitalize on the desire from residents following the COVID-19 pandemic to get outside more. They’ve added public WIFI to some of the city’s public spaces, as well as shade structures and more play structures so children can play while their parents work remotely.

The city’s small, urban beach that’s located within a mile of Amesbury’s downtown has also seen some upgrades thanks to feedback from the community.

“We’ve really invested in that as another place for people to get out, go for a walk or sit outside,” Gove says. “We are renovating that area, adding shade sails, adding games, adding picnic tables, and renovating the beach. There’s certainly a desire from folks to get outside and enjoy those spaces.”

Amesbury’s master plan process is now shifting its focus toward housing and infrastructure. They’re looking at previous plans, capital plans, and data from the Department of Public Works to identify priority development projects and services that will be needed throughout the city.

“As all these companies grow, we’re making sure they have access to a workforce that can afford to live here and we’re also updating our housing production plan,” Gove says. “We are aligning our work and laying the groundwork to get us there. We’re creating a long-term plan to make it all possible.”

Nearing the top of the priority list for the city when carrying out its action plan is to take part in the LEED for Cities Program, which helps local leaders formulate plans for the future that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“This is looking at all of the operations, all the different policies and programs that a community offers to help it grow sustainably,” Cleveland explains. “It looks at greenhouse gas emissions, open spaces, and then it goes into the social and the environmental components, including the types of businesses we have here, our tax rate, our crime rate, and education attainment as a component of the social arm of sustainability. It’s really given us some insight and it’s actually helping us fill in some of the actions that we may not have achieved yet and can include in our master plan.”

With its I AMesbury 2030 master plan well underway, and its LEED goals on the horizon, Amesbury has worked hard to create a city that is thoughtful, sustainable, and innovative. And its future is looking bright.

“The next couple of years will be really exciting to see things come to fruition,” she adds. “We want to stay on the front end of really important initiatives and trends and things that will shape the future of our community.”

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Amesbury, Massachusetts

What: A charming New England town that is as dynamic as it is historic

Where: Essex County, Massachusetts



Munters Corporation –

Since 1955, Munters has been a world leading supplier of climate solutions for the future. Our purpose is for our customers’ success and contributing to a healthier planet. We offer innovative, efficient and sustainable solutions for customers in industries where controlling temperature and humidity is mission critical – reducing their climate and environmental impact through efficient resource utilization.

Munters products and systems can be found nearly everywhere – from food processing to defense and aerospace, from advanced battery manufacturing to pharmaceutical processing, from agriculture to state-of-the-art data centers – and more.

Here are some examples:

  • Chocolate and candy that you enjoy are perfectly formed and coated with the help of Munters solutions.
  • The hybrid or electric vehicle that you’ll drive will have batteries precisely manufactured in a Munters controlled environment.
  • Meat and poultry that you consume are produced safely and bacteria-free, in part due to Munters technologies.
  • Medicinal and nutritional tablets and gel caps are formulated consistently, aided by Munters equipment.

Amesbury has been home to Munters in the USA for more than 50 years. We’re proud to be a member of the community, its largest employer, and that about one-third of our Amesbury workforce are residents of the area.

CTA Construction –

CTA Construction Managers is a proud partner of the city of Amesbury in the construction of the new Sgt. Jordan Shay Memorial Lower Elementary School. CTA, an award-winning construction management and general contracting firm has a history of excellence in building academic, multi-family residential, commercial, civic, and senior care facilities.

WIN Waste Innovations –

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