, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 5, 2012

Federal-state-local cooperation brings results

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.

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