Merrimack Valley Officials to Give Update on Businesses Impacted by Explosions

About 10 months after gas explosions and fires rocked the Merrimack Valley, more than 70 percent of the impacted locally-owned small businesses have returned to their pre-gas emergency levels of operations, business and civic leaders are expected to announce at a press conference Tuesday.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and Congresswoman Lori Trahan will join Sen. Barry Finegold, Rep. Christina Minicucci, local officials and community organizations to provide an update on business recovery efforts in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Gas explosions and fires leveled homes and businesses in the three towns on Sept. 13, forcing evacuations and months of repairs. Rose and Dove Gift Shop, which will host Tuesday's 10 a.m. press conference, was closed in the immediate wake of the gas emergency, was without heat for months and then saw its entrance blocked for weeks due to construction.

A coalition of businesses and civic groups spearheaded by the Lawrence Partnership and the Essex County Community Foundation will announce the kick-off of a regional marketing campaign to further help businesses recover.

The coalition said that nearly 900 small, locally-owned businesses were affected by the September emergency and that nearly 70 percent have since rebounded to their pre-Sept. 13 levels of operations.

Rivera and Trahan will be joined Tuesday by Finegold, Minicucci, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan, North Andover Acting Town Manager Lyne Savage, business owner Kellee Twadelle, and community organization representatives Deneven O'Connell, Derek Mitchell and Stratton Lloyd.

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