NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 20, 2013

New vision of Salisbury Beach proposed

Beachfront owners present their own plan for beach center

SALISBURY — For the first time in more than six years selectmen are supporting a “new vision” to redevelop Salisbury Beach Center, they termed “impressive and exciting” when they saw it Monday night.

Since 2007, town officials had supported a grand plan for the much needed rehab of the beach center proposed by Cambridge urban design firm, the Thompson Group and its real estate arm, R. E. Commerce. For years, even as the plans stagnated, Thompson’s pledge to restore Salisbury Beach Center’s to its past grandeur garnered the backing of some selectmen and Town Manager Neil Harrington.

Within the past year, however, as all Thompson’s development agreements expired with beach property owners and the economic climate for development improved, local business people gathered together to resurrect a plan that predated Thompson’s entry onto the scene.

After much secrecy, on Monday night SPS New England President and beach businesses owner Wayne Capolupo revealed his group’s “Revised Vision for Salisbury Beach.” Asking for support, they received the unanimous endorsement for it from the Board of Selectmen.

“This is very impressive,” Selectman Freeman Condon told Capolupo after he finished the presentation.

“Very exciting,” Selectman Henry Richenburg added.

“The beach needs new ideas,” Selectman Ed Hunt said. “I hope the town will support this.”

And with a motion from Selectman Don Beaulieu, the four selectmen present at the meeting were the first public officials to get on board.

Needed, however, before a shovel hits the ground, are a bevy of approvals: from the Salisbury Conservation Commission and Planning Board, perhaps from the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which controls building in the country’s waterways, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And then there are the state agencies, including the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns, maintains and is very protective of, the three-plus miles of Salisbury Beach.

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