NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 4, 2014

Waterfront message given loud and clear

To the editor:

The people have spoken. Clearly. Irrefutably.

At the recent charrette, arranged by and for the mayor — advertised as the vehicle for once and for all determining the will of the community with regards to the eventual disposition of the NRA’s central waterfront lands — the overwhelmingly popular preference of the standing-room-only crowd was for an open waterfront with no new buildings and lots of green space. Probably owned by the Waterfront Trust. With some limited parking thereupon. But definitely public space, and free to all — in perpetuity.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the mayor herself publicly admitted that in her opinion the morning’s participants represented an excellent and diverse cross-section of the residents and that everyone had been civil and well-behaved. There were many more non-COWs in attendance than COWs. There can now be no doubt that an open waterfront is what is wanted by the majority of the denizens of the city.

This is not the first time that this opinion has been voiced by the citizenry. After multiple surveys, polls, referenda, prior charrettes, elections and public meetings at which the public was offered the opportunity to voice its preference – held successively over a time span of many years – the results of this last exercise simply repeated all other previous outcomes. The passage of time has done nothing but strengthen the community’s desire to keep its waterfront open. Forever.

And yet the mayor has stated that this is not the end of the process, but merely the beginning. There will be more meetings.

Why?

How many more times must the by-now-frustrated public rouse themselves to go and repeat to their elected leaders that they want an open waterfront? If the message has not been heard by now, it never will be.

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