NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 31, 2013

Our view: A Daily News wishlist for 2014

As we take one last look back at the issues that dominated our headlines in 2013, The Daily News looks forward to the new headlines we will write in 2014. Here are some of the key issues that we will be following — and hoping that these issues will finally be resolved in a positive manner.

Newburyport: The city has been riding a high tide for the last few years, despite the economic downturn. It is blessed to be facing problems that other communities might wish to have.

Key among the issues we hope to see resolved in the fate of the Central Waterfront. For nearly 50 years the city has struggled to find the right formula that will work on this valuable centerpiece of the city’s waterfront. In 2012 and 2013, the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority presented and adjusted its plans to build three-story buildings on the land and preserve the bulk of it as a park. But the results of the November election made clear that most Newburyporters don’t want what the NRA is pursuing.

The NRA has now backed off on its plans, and it appears now that a consensus is building toward developing the land into a park with adequate parking lots. Our view is that it is time for the NRA to disband and turn the land over to the city, so that the substantial resources and finances of City Hall can be focused on this vital project.

Plum Island: Erosion has been, and continues to be, one of the key issues facing the barrier island. Last winter released brutal storm-powered poundings along a mile-long section of the island that led to the destruction of six homes, and severe erosion along the beachfront of two dozen other homes.

The damaged dunes have been rebuilt, but there is little that can stop a storm surge when driven by a powerful nor’easter. It can be expected that more erosion damage will occur this winter.

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