NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 6, 2014

A waterfront New Year's wish


Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

No grand design scheme for total waterfront improvements here, just a simple suggestion for part of it that seems would be fun and beautiful. This could also be realized while endless proposals for the land use continue to be debated over time into the future.

Build a shallow pool along the walkway by the river’s edge. In summer it would be like the Frog Pond in the Boston Common with three spray water fountains for children and adults to cool off in on hot days. There would be a small food stand with treats and cold beverages plus a Yankee Tiki Hut for adults with beer and wine locally produced within 30 miles plus a grill for meats, veggies, cold soups and salads for the vegans. Again, all foods sold shall be locally supplied as at the Sunday farmer’s market. A new public restroom would be provided like on the other side of the park. The pond would stretch along one-third the length of the existing boardwalk and have two deep curvy indentations into where parking spaces now exist.

In winter it would become a wonderful place to ice skate overlooking the water with hot beverages like coffee, teas, cider and cocoa. A metal fire bowl between the pond’s curves would allow people skating at night a place to warm up, socialize and delight in a million-dollar view of the creatively illuminated rink and harbor lights. Skate time would be reserved for hockey teams to practice and have games too.

Newburyport High School students in the business course could be trained to run the place under supervision for course credits. They would work there in age-related jobs during the summer tourist season for college money.

I believe this would make the precious open waterfront a destination for physically active people to do more than just saunter along the perimeter looking at the view. Especially out of the summer season. The eastern and southern areas around the pond must include stunning gardens maintained by local horticultural groups and have a soil rise of 6 feet plus plants that would block all view of parked cars. This would make the whole place feel cozy, sheltered and unique.

Imagine skating in the winter along the river with the warm glow of a fire where some people are gathered enjoying great skating, music playing in the background. Healthy exercise, outdoor enjoyment of our gorgeous harbor vista, good food and drink and only one block from parking and the retail businesses downtown. A win-win proposal all around. Think about it.

Robert Allen Schledwitz

Newburyport