, Newburyport, MA

NRA Waterfront Plans

September 12, 2012

Newburyport Redevelopment Authority: A timeline

The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority has been in existence since the early 1960s, charged with restoring the city's historic downtown and redeveloping its waterfront.

The downtown restoration was a success, but the waterfront has been a different story. There have been numerous attempts to develop the land, all unsuccessful.

Today the NRA has 4.2 acres on 2 separate lots -- the so-called East Lot and West Lot, located on either side of the city's waterfront park. Both NRA lots are used for parking.

Here's a timeline of key events in the NRA's efforts to develop its land.  

1968: The NRA takes over 9 acres on the Central Waterfront by eminent domain. Over two dozen buildings on the Central Waterfront are demolished to make way for development.

1971: NRA receives 4 proposals to develop waterfront with a marina, small inn, restaurants, shops, and housing.

1972: NRA chooses a design. Opposition is immediately raised to the plan, primarily because it blocked water access and public views of the water. Within a few months, the plan is withdrawn. A group called Friends of the Newburyport Waterfront forms; among its leaders are local real estate agent Joan Purinton and lawyer Bill Harris. 

1972 -1977: Friends of the Newburyport Waterfront sues NRA over several issues. The key waterfront issue is the status of 11 public "wayes to the waterfront" that cross through the NRA's land. The wayes are old roads that extended from Water and Merrimac streets to the Merrimack River.

1977: The strip of NRA land that directly fronts on the river is redeveloped into a boardwalk

1978: Friends case goes to trial. Friends lose in state Land Court, and appeal to state Appeals Court.

1979: Mayor Richard Sullivan appoints group to come up with plan for NRA land and adjoining private lands. A plan to build a 150-room hotel, conference center and several other buildings is unveiled. The plan creates much fanfare, but eventually fades away. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
NRA Waterfront Plans

NDN Video
Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Serious Flash Flooding in Arizona Man Poses for New Mugshot Photo Wearing Shirt with Old Mugshot Photo On It Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listeners' Caught On Camera: Johnny Manziel Obscene Gesture Rita Ora Embraces the Ice Bucket Challenge Bird surprises soccer player Ashley Young during game Chapter Two: Never too late to become an artist Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral, Raises Over $15M For ALS Damaging Winds Stop the Show! In the Cockpit of the Air Force's Elite Squadron Pathologist: Autopsy Shows Teen Repeatedly Shot Christina Aguilera Has a Baby Girl Marvel Fans: Watch Dancing Baby Groot Over and Over! Raw: Protesters, Police Clash in Ferguson Gov. Rick Perry responds to indictment Breaking: Officials release name of police officer in Ferguson shooting Man Shot As Protesters Defy Curfew in Ferguson Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez Back Together for Two ‘Secret’ Dates
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans