An open waterfront with adjacent park and facilities, unencumbered by commercial or residential structures plus the ancillary equipment necessary to maintain them, will distinguish Newburyport from other cities with many of the same amenities, yet which lack the rarity of an open waterfront. Does Newburyport want to continue building on its little remaining parkland to the point it winds up looking like any other city?
So, what is the solution? Leave the park and adjacent dirt lots as they are for the time being. Find a way to construct a parking garage away from the waterfront, yet convenient to the downtown area. Waterfront property is too valuable to squander on parking cars. Then, once a garage has been built, expand and improve the park to encompass the now existing dirt parking lots.
We only have to witness the lack of parking, not only for the many various activities that take place, but almost on a daily basis. While looking at present parking needs, we must also look ahead to the future. We don’t want people to stay away from Newburyport because of a shortage or fear of a shortage of parking.
Creative financial consultants and developers may be needed to secure financing. However, leaders with vision and strength who can fulfill this and bring this to fruition will have achieved a great accomplishment.
Let’s follow the successes of other cities across our nation that have recognized and capitalized on their gem, their open waterfront. Again, just use some common sense and follow those who have demonstrated success.
Thomas Freund is a retired investment executive formerly from Chicago, now living in Byfield.