NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 25, 2013

A radical view for waterfront development

Global warming is a reality. In the next 50 years of our ongoing waterfront development, certain occurrences are guaranteed. The ocean level will rise several feet and horrific storms and hurricanes will be normal weather events. Any plans to develop our beautiful waterfront that does not accept these realities is as wrong as was building New Orleans 50 feet below sea level thinking vulnerable barriers would protect their city.

I propose the following: Massive pilings shall be sunk down to bedrock throughout the areas that now contain parking lots. Steel beams shall rise 12 feet above ground and a structurally solid platform will be built on top. The ground level will be a paved, enclosed parking lot and on top will be all the parks, gardens, concert shell and lawn, shops, fountains, taverns, restaurants, food carts, condos and amenities currently planned for the space.

I believe this will accomplish many good things. First, short of a tsunami, it will not be destroyed by Mother Nature.

Second, there will be substantially more totally out-of-sight, sheltered, all-season parking spaces.

Third, the view of the harbor from 12 feet above the existing walkway, which will remain below, will be far more dramatic due to the elevation.

Fourth, the parking, shopping and living areas will be interconnected and protected against the weather in winter so you do not have to negotiate a walk from an outside parking lot down windy streets to where you are going in bad weather.

Fifth, a large reflecting pond with Koi fish will provide beauty to the garden area in the summer and become a skating rink in the winter with an outdoor open firepot and refreshment stand.

Sixth, the high real estate taxes and parking fees will be an ongoing source of revenue to the city for the project’s maintenance and can fund free public events like concerts, plays and weekly in-season river fireworks.

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