NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 13, 2012

City to NRA: More expertise Assurances sought on waterfront project plans

(Continued)

In addition, state and federal agencies have provided financial grants over the years, and their interests must be acknowledged if land is going to be sold and/or transferred.

Given the technical challenges ahead, it appears that the city is seeking to increase its influence on the project. The NRA has the authority to make final decisions.

In a statement made prior to the NRA meeting, Mayor Donna Holaday, responding to a question about ownership of this riverfront property, said: “The NRA has had ownership of the land on the Central Waterfront since the initial Urban Renewal of downtown. Although several attempts have been made to identify the highest and best use of this property, there has been no movement on this for years.

“The city stepped in as a partner with the NRA to be a key player at the table with MassDevelopment and Union Studio as we work together to build more open space and park, reduce parking and create a cohesive plan with our downtown that includes limited mixed used development as a means to fund the desired improvements.”

NRA members last night noted that they are working with MassDevelopment, a state agency, and with Abramson & Associates, development specialists.

Adam Guild, treasurer of the NRA, last night was named to work with Port and city officials on the geotechnical assessment of the project site.

Guild is a senior project manager for The Martins Companies, a design, construction and real estate development firm in Danvers.

Morris said that NRA lawyer Carol Powers has done significant preparation regarding permitting, closeout and procurement. She will report back to the NRA board and indicate whether outside help is needed.

Last night’s meeting drew spirited questions from the audience prior to the introduction of Port’s letter. The attendance of two dozen was larger than usual.

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