NEWBURYPORT — Most of the candidates for mayor attended the Saturday session on the central waterfront hosted by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority.
The following are comments relating to the NRA’s revised plan:
Mayor Donna Holaday: “This presentation shows the NRA has been listening to residents’ opinions, and I like the idea of a smaller footprint.
“We’re working to find a balance in some form of development that will provide a link with the downtown while maintaining a beautiful waterfront.”
She said she favors improved park area and is seeking a means to pay for its creation and maintenance.
Holaday added that city officials are continuing to explore ways to develop more parking, including creation of a parking garage in the downtown.
City Councilor Greg Earls said he is an advocate for non-privatized waterfront.
“The waterfront park defines the downtown and should become a public treasure. The park should be a connection to the waterfront, not be creating private residences but through a celebration of its history and a sense of its community.”
He said he is not against some kind of building — but not by private business — and he is against selling or leasing any portion of the waterfront park.
“The connection from the downtown to the water should be one that does not include private ownership of land.” Earls said a key step in considering uses for the waterfront is to define and refine the parking situation.
City Councilor Dick Sullivan Jr., also a candidate, said, “I believe the only answer is to expand the waterfront park on both the west and east side and no buildings other than a visitors center with bathrooms and a better facility for boater services and the harbormaster’s office.
“All things considered, I think we are wasting our dollars, time and energy on the idea that any developer, knowing the history of what has transpired on the waterfront over the last 50 years, is going to invest the time and money to build there.