Elizabeth Heath, who heads the COW organization, said, “My concern, and that of COW, is reflected in the mission statement of the Committee for an Open Waterfront, which reads: ‘To assure the preservation of an open central waterfront, free from additional buildings and structures, on the shores of the Merrimack River in the City of Newburyport; and to preserve public access to the open central waterfront, on the shores of the Merrimack River in the City of Newburyport; and to maintain unobstructed views of the Merrimack River from Merrimac, Water and Green Streets.’
“Whatever serves those goals is of interest to me.”
The perspective of Bennett, a wealthy apparel executive who owns several buildings overlooking the river, could result in another influential voice in the discussion. Bennett has been actively involved in the long saga of Newburyport’s waterfront development. She fought successfully in court against a plan to build a hotel next to her Water Street property.
She said she funded the recent “explanatory” film that COW is showing to amplify its open-space concept.
And Bennett said she would be willing to pay for architectural renderings for an expanded visitor center that she envisions on Merrimac Street.
She said that developing land away from the city (Route 1 rotary) would result in “vision and positive-phased planning in the right place at the right time.”