Resident Jim Roy said, “The future of the entire waterfront involves (developer Stephen) Karp downriver, and Karp upriver.
“Some day, he (or his company) will go into action and we will be happy we kept this land open.”
Karp’s Newburyport Development owns about 50 parcels on or near the waterfront.
But Paul Dahn, who identified himself as a member of the Harbor Commission, said the vision that Union Studio has advanced is an appealing one. “I support the development that will bring improvements,” he said.
Several other speakers expressed support for the tentative vision that calls for two commercial structures and a larger public park.
NRA Chairman James Shanley stressed that his board has not finalized any plans and that it is open to more input. He said one of the organization’s goals is to open the waterfront to more uses such as shops and restaurants, so more people can enjoy it.
NRA members stressed that two commercial buildings, which could include 30 to 35 condominium units, are important components if enough money is to be generated to create a park.
In answer to questions, NRA members said they did not have hard numbers on what it would cost to build a park and maintain it. That could come when an official request for proposals is extended, and there is no date for an RFP to be released.
Former Mayor Mary Carrier said that the NRA should not sell the land to developers. “We’ve done that in the past, and it cost us thousands to straighten out the situation,” she said.
NRA members say they haven’t decided whether to sell or lease their property.
Several leaders of the COW organization said they would like to look into raising money to develop a park from private sources.
Though no action was taken, the session marked greater involvement by city officials in finding consensus.