, Newburyport, MA

September 23, 2013

Unique, beautiful waterfront must stay open

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Anyone who thinks it will be just fine if the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority (NRA) builds large structures on the central waterfront had better think again — and think very carefully.

Imagine you have left Market Square and are walking into the Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant. You pass through it to the back because you want to have lunch on the terrace. When you get there, you realize something is terribly wrong. A three-story high wall on your right is blocking your view of the Merrimack River as it flows east to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. Worse still, it’s a very hot day and the wall is obstructing the refreshing ocean breezes that you usually feel coming up the river

The wall I am writing about is the row of three-story-high buildings with essentially one façade. The NRA proposes to construct these just outside the eastern perimeter of Market Landing Park. The NRA also proposes to construct a nearly identical group of buildings on the opposite or western perimeter of Market Landing Park.

The NRA does not own Market Landing Park! Instead, the Newburyport Waterfront Trust has given the public this lovely, small park, where citizens and others sit on the grass to hear concerts during Yankee Homecoming.

If built as proposed, the NRA buildings will force future concert-goers in Market Landing Park to sit in a box created by the NRA buildings, that is, if concerts will continue to be feasible. Furthermore, everyone wishing to access the Merrimack River from Market Square will need to walk through a tunnel of NRA buildings in order to get there.

How can the mayor claim that these buildings amount to only moderate construction, when they will certainly severely damage the existing, very popular and highly successful Market Landing Park.

Newburyport needs its central waterfront to remain open. It is unique and beautiful. Like the restored Market Square it is an irreplaceable economic asset.

Mary Wilkins Haslinger