, Newburyport, MA

January 29, 2013

Mayor to address NRA meeting tomorrow

By Dyke Hendrickson
Staff writer

---- — NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna Holaday is scheduled to speak at the regular meeting of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the library at 94 State St.

Holaday yesterday said she is planning on presenting a few introductory comments on the purpose of the meeting.

NRA members say that incorrect information is being distributed by parties who oppose their plan, and they say part of this meeting will be designed to advance correct false facts and assumptions.

In recent weeks, the NRA and to a lesser extent the mayor have faced criticism from a citizens group called Committee for an Open Waterfront. The group has organized events, sent out mailers and written numerous opinion pieces that have been published in the local media. Members of the group regularly attend NRA meetings.

The NRA has announced its intention of soliciting requests for proposals that could result in creation of two commercial structures near the Firehouse Center for the Performing Arts.

Members of the five-person panel say that revenue derived from developing condos, shops and restaurants could be used to improve and expand the park facilities along the river.

Panel officials estimate that such a plan would cost about $20 million.

In recent months the NRA has contracted with Union Studio of Providence to create the outline of a development plan for the 4.2 riverfront acres.

The authority is using the study as a basic guideline, but members say they are not committed to the specifics of it.

The NRA agenda tomorrow night includes public comment, a parking report, a treasurer’s report and an “update on the RFP.” The agenda also lists a “general discussion” and new business.