Taplin sold the eco-craft, in part because its 3-foot draft would not permit him to run enough trips during low tides to make money. Also, it appeared that the docking facilities in Salisbury were in shambles, but those have been improved.
The 77-year-old former teacher likely could “retire,” but he thinks he’s on to something good with a water taxi to serve the reservation in Salisbury, which hosts thousands of campers per week.
“A water taxi would bring many shoppers camping in Salisbury to shop in Newburyport,” Taplin said. “There would be no cars, no parking problems, just visitors to the city.”
As for landing his vessel, he said they could get off near Pentucket Medical, just west of Cashman Park, and be shuttled to the downtown.
To get started, he needs permission from both the state Fish and Game Administration and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
He says Mayor Donna Holaday backs his proposal; he reports that both state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, and state Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, have endorsed his plan.
“It would be a community service,” Taplin says, “if I can just get state approvals.”
Such is the plight of one (potential) riverside merchant as the tourist season is about to begin.
Meanwhile, the NRA is scheduled to meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall for its regular session. This winter the panel was meeting every two weeks, but it is now gathering on a monthly basis.
On Thursday at 7, at the library, the Committee for an Open Waterfront is scheduled to unveil its “alternative” plan for the use of the NRA’s 4.2 riverside acres.
COW officials, who have declined to make their document available to the media, say its plan has no buildings and a lot of park.