, Salem, MA

Danversport Explosion

November 20, 2007

New Danversport takes on a more upscale look



Twenty new homes have sprung up so far, and more are in the works.

Businesses rebuilding, too

Liberty Marina owners Jim and Wendy Cheever are constructing a 12,600-square-foot steel warehouse that will also have office space. Two buildings at the marina damaged by the explosion had to demolished. The Cheevers hope to finish the new warehouse by the end of December.

Maria Silva, owner of the building that housed the Danversport Bakery & Coffee Shop and the Pizza Factory, is rebuilding the demolished bakery on Water Street and hopes to have it open by early January. Amid the changes, a new Dunkin' Donuts is under construction on Water Street, and a spa is moving into the former North Shore Association of Realtors building on Water Street, which was seriously damaged in the explosion.

"When I was growing up, Danversport wasn't the best part of town," said Richard Stamm, whose home was severely damaged by the blast and had to be torn down. Now he and his wife are building a large house with a gabled roof at the corner of Water and Riverside streets. "The neighborhood looks nice. It's coming up to snuff."

Neighbors say they are bracing for assessment time, when the town will reassess property values.

"The house value went up," said Donna Joyce of 9 Bates St. "Our taxes will show it, I'm sure."

Stepping inside the neighborhood's new homes, some similarities are evident, because the neighbors have shared information and advice with each other as they have rebuilt.

"We have the same kitchen tiles as Alan and Andrea Farrell (on Bates Street) because we saw theirs and liked them," said Janet Lettich with a laugh. "Everyone shared a lot."

Getting to know you

The changes in Danversport transcend the aesthetic. The devastating explosion also served to unite the neighbors, who are now a closely knit group.

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