, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 24, 2012

Pondering the past year in Port

Random nanothoughts as the year draws to a close:

Things that worked in 2012:

A new clearwell (municipal water source) on Spring Lane was constructed, and the transition from a collapsing system to a new facility was made without incident.

City, state and federal officials worked together to secure $3.6 million to rebuild the south jetty of the Merrimack River.

A $6.5 million senior community center was approved by voters.

A complex, $32 million wastewater treatment plant moved forward, after expensive delays.

The state “gave” the city $1 million for a roundabout at the intersection of Spofford and Merrimac streets.

The Custom House Maritime Museum was energized by new leadership and creative programs.

Solarize Newburyport lit up the town, contracting with more than 40 residences and business for services.

Newburyport was recognized as a Coast Guard City.

Events to ponder:

A proposed Local Historic District, which on paper included almost 800 structures, was passed to include — just five structures (eight residences). Talk about downsizing.

A revitalized commission has begun contemplating improvements at the Mall. Where to start? The fountain? The debris? The droppings from birds and dogs that frequent the venerable center?

Will the Prince of Whales be replaced? This 149-seat tourist boat chugged out of port weeks ago, and no replacement has been announced. Former owners said it took out almost 10,000 visitors per year.

Notable quotes:

“I didn’t like working with the historic commission in Somerville,” said City Councilor Tom Jones, a contractor, during a discussion of the LHD. “I tried to get all my work done before they knew about it.”

“To run up a water bill of $17,613 is unacceptable,” said Mayor Donna Holaday, focusing on a (six-month) water bill of the Waterfront Trust. “And this was during a water ban.”

Dick Hordon, who headed a coalition of residents opposed to the LHD: Asked for his reaction if the Lord Timothy Dexter home (a well-known historic structure) were purchased and scheduled for demolition, Hordon said, “I would be extremely disappointed. But the owner would have the right to tear it down.”

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