, Newburyport, MA


January 17, 2013

Clearing up myths about NRA

Ok, enough pot shots! It’s time for a dose of clarity and facts regarding the NRA and the Central Waterfront. After careful consideration, and to avoid being “swift boated” by a small group of passionate people, I decided that as the longest seated member of the Redevelopment Authority, I should dispel some of the myths regarding the “concept plan” adopted by the NRA.

Myth 1

The NRA is against an Open Waterfront.


All members of the NRA have expressed their interest in significantly expanding the “openness” of the Waterfront. The concept voted upon unanimously by the NRA calls for opening up the park area by an additional 30-40% above its current size and decreases the amount of space used for parking lots on the waterfront by 40-50%.


I believe the difference in opinion here is about what constitutes open space. I do not believe that dirt, or paved, or “flexible space” parking lots constitute open space. I believe that a view of lovely architecture, and a significantly larger park that is activated year round, is aesthetically preferable to most folks, than gazing from the boardwalk at a sea of cars in the summer, and a windy tundra in the winter. Even from the street, the gap between the Firehouse and the bottom of Green Street has the appearance of a missing tooth.

Myth 2

The NRA is selling public land.


Historically, the NRA property was privately owned blighted property that was purchased by public funds and turned over to the NRA. The options for the disposition of the land by the NRA are clearly outlined by the statute empowering Redevelopment Authorities. On the other hand, the “ways to the water” are public lands. Those ways are protected by law, and are not threatened in any way by our “concept design.”

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