In recent years an attitude of “government-can’t-get-anything-done” has pervaded many minds, but cooperation yielded the desired results on several projects here last week.
One federal-state-local construction program that got under way was preparation for the repair of the south jetty on Plum Island.
Construction teams have begun bringing lumber to the parking lot on the north end of the island so a “corduroy” roadway can be built from staging area to oceanfront.
The (federal) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked with the (state) Department of Environmental Agency and (local) elected municipal officials to approve the project and allocate $3.61 million.
Work will run from November through March 31, when a fourth group of stakeholders, the nesting plovers, takes over the beach.
The Merrimack River Beach Alliance, made up of three-dozen officials of varied stripes, met more than a dozen times to coax this project to life. But there it is: Something worked.
State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, was among those who spearheaded the action and Mayor Donna Holaday, City Councilor Allison Heartquist, (Newbury) Selectmen Joe Story and Geoff Walker and committee co-chairman Vincent Russo (Newbury) were among local leaders who teamed with state and federal officials.
Also involving federal-state-local cooperation was the allocation for beach-scraping permits on Plum Island.
Bulldozing sand near Bennett Hill and Annapolis Way kept the churning sea away from residences, and provided a sense of optimism that humankind can work with both bureaucracy and Mother Nature to help battle erosion.
In the future, scraping permits will be easier to obtain and activated without a great deal of paperwork. Annapolis Way resident Bob Connors said U.S. Sen. John Tierney as well as Tarr were crucial to the cutting of red tape.
Representatives from the Corps of Engineers were also helpful and attended numerous strategy sessions.
One would think that professional geologists will eventually be called in to assess the efforts of the earnest, but amateur, scraping teams; but for the moment, the tactic seems to be working.
The fact that federal and state officials would give permits to local property owners suggests that those who cash government paychecks are all not clueless bureaucrats.
(An aside: Can this can-do attitude also be utilized to remove some of the numerous (off-putting) signs that greet unsuspecting island visitors with the roadside message “Parking by Permit Only”)?
Also transpiring last week was the transfer of $1 million from the state Department of Transportation to the city for a roundabout near the intersection of Merrimac Street, Spofford Street and Moseley Avenue.
The state is writing somewhat of a “blank check” to the city so municipal engineers can design the roundabout and city officials can finalize a construction contract. Such a hand-off of authority (and cash) should permit the project to get started in spring and be finished by spring 2014.
Again, it appears that cooperation among government officials has facilitated action on an important municipal project — and in this case, that the state will pay for in full.
Holaday, City Council President Tom O’Brien, City Engineer Jon-Eric White and Department of Public Services Director Tony Furnari have helped make this project happen, as did state Rep. Mike Costello, D-Newburyport, and former state Sen. Steve Baddour.
If there is local satisfaction as a result of these governmental activities, there could be more good moments on the horizon.
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The following meetings are scheduled this week and open to the public:
Finance Subcommittee of the Whole, Schools, 7:30 a.m., school offices, 70 Low St.
Joint Committee of the Whole, School Committee, 5:30 p.m., Room 118, high school.
School Committee, 6:30 p.m., Room 118, high school.
Waterfront Trust, 7 p.m., police conference room 4 Green St.
Selection Committee of the Whole School Building Committee, 4:30 p.m., superintendent’s office, 77 Low St.
River Valley Charter School Finance Committee, 6 p.m., 2 Perry Way.
River Valley Charter School Executive Committee, 7 p.m., 2 Perry Way.
Solarize Newburyport, 3 p.m., City Hall.
Senior Center Building Committee, 5 p.m., second floor, City Hall.
Moseley Woods Commission, 5:30 p.m., 26 Green St. (Mission Oak Grill).
Conservation Commission, 6:30 p.m., City Hall auditorium.
Afford Housing Committee, 6:30 p.m., conference room, City Hall.
Planning Board, 7 p.m., City Council chambers.
Licensing Commission, 7 p.m., police conference room, 4 Green St.
Disabilities Commission, 6 p.m., Nock School, 70 Low St.
Harbor Commission, 7 p.m., City Council chambers.
Local Historic District Study Committee, 7:30 p.m., police conference room, 4 Green St.
Dyke Hendrickson covers Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached at 978-462-6666, ext. 3226, or email@example.com.