The community center itself, and the waterfront as a whole, would offer a range of activities and services, designed to allow seniors and other residents, especially those with limited mobility, to spend much of the day on site throughout the year. Possibilities include a small lending library, convenience store, on-site lockers, Internet café, ATM, among others. All-day dining options include a café and/or food court, along with both indoor and outdoor dining tables (with umbrellas and second-story water views) open to the public throughout the day. Proximity to downtown shops and services would provide even more choices.
Done in phases, most public parking would gradually be shifted from the NRA parking lots to a nearby parking garage (opposite the potential Titcomb hotel site). Limited parking and drop-off areas would continue to be available on site. Future phases might provide a shuttle van to/from key points of interest for residents and/or visitors. As parking on the waterfront is released, the space would be redeployed to other public uses.
As space and funding became available, outdoor space next to the center might include botanical gardens, quiet space for reading and WiFi access, perhaps an area for lawn games. The east NRA lot would gradually be converted to other uses, such as a carousel, pavilions, marine uses and so forth. A visitors program would highlight points of interest and the calendar of activities — cultural, historical, natural, recreational and marine — on the waterfront and throughout the community.
This is just one person’s vision, and while the idea of a POWER organization was meant tongue-in-cheek, the principles are not. Others who subscribe to the POWER principles may have a different vision, and that’s OK. What’s important is that we unify around the principles to discourage the NRA from surrendering our most precious asset forever to narrow interests, rather than preserving it for all.
Mary Krajci lives in Newburyport.