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January 20, 2013

Heightened energies churning around waterfront's future

The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority has been increasingly leaning on professionals at City Hall to move forward its plans to develop a park and two commercial buildings on the riverfront.

NRA officials say that Planning Director Andy Port and senior project manager Geordie Vining have been providing logistical support on matters involved in preparing a Request for Proposals, which would include Chapter 91 issues (uses of waterfront), as well as concerns about soil quality, flood plain guidelines and adequate parking.

Mayor Donna Holaday,too, is taking an increased interest. NRA members say Holaday will appear at the next regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 30, to discuss facts and dispel “misinformation” that NRA leaders say is being dispensed.

The Committee for an Open Waterfront, meanwhile, is also reaching out for white-collar reinforcement.

COW spokespeople said several weeks ago that they will produce an alternate plan for the 4.2 acres. That plan is currently being created by two landscape architects, Jamie Purinton and Matthew Potteige. Purinton is the daughter of COW leader Joanie Purinton and grew up in the area.

Jamie Purinton, a landscape architect based in the Hudson Valley, and Potteiger, a professor of landscape architecture at State University of New York, Syracuse, are co-authors of “Landscape Narratives: Design Practices for Telling Stories” (John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1998).

They say they have collaborated on a number of public projects, including a wayfinding/streetscape project for Adams, N.Y.; a streetscape marketplace in Salisbury, Conn.; and a series of public waterfront spaces along Newtown Creek in New York City.

No publication date for their plan has been announced, but Jamie Purinton said a key theme will be an emphasis on all park, no buildings.

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On the topic of the waterfront, Cliff Goudey is leaving the Waterfront Trust after nine years. Chairman Doug Locy said the panel would like to hear from residents who would be interested in replacing him. Resumes can be sent to City Hall, in care of the mayor.

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