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January 27, 2014

Big turnout expected for waterfront meeting

(Continued)

Cameron, 51, is associate executive director for housing and homeless services, Community Team, in Lowell. He is chair of the Democratic City Committee.

Cameron recalled that he had not aspired to a role in municipal government when growing up, but he said one of the reasons he got involved in city government was the waterfront itself.

“I never considered running for anything until I had been in Newburyport for five years,” said the councilor, a Clark University graduate, married and the father of two. “The waterfront was actually one of the big issues in 2007 that inspired me to run.”

Cameron’s half-dozen years on the council have been a time of increased discussion of the waterfront.

The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, which owns 4.2 acres on the river, has been developing tentative plans for the land, which is mostly used now as parking lots.

But the five-member NRA until recently has not been wont to include elected officials in the planning.

Late last year, though, the NRA reached out to City Hall, and it appears the voices of city councilors and the mayor will be more influential as the debate continues.

During his re-election campaign last fall, Cameron was quoted as saying, “I want more park and less parking, and would like to see it with no additional debt for taxpayers.

“I can tolerate limited commercial development because it would limit the burden on property owners.”

The upcoming year promises to be one of vigorous discussion as it relates to waterfront planning: The NRA land is in play, city officials want to create a new harbormaster/transient boating facility, a 442-seat restaurant has been proposed and a parking garage is being planned on Merrimac Street.

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The following meetings are scheduled for this week and open to the public:

Tonight

Budget and Finance Committee, 6:45 p.m., City Hall

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