, Newburyport, MA


July 5, 2013

Show and tell on the waterfront


Not much is expected of life members in most organizations. I had once, the great long ago, dug the hole for what was then a septic tank’s need, but now I take full advantage of just sitting away from the sun on hot days, watching river traffic that interrupts my reading.

On a recent day I walked to the western end of the bulkhead’s reconstruction where I looked down with some shock on granite rocks and a tangle of ancient wharf of the neighboring property where once there had been a proper barrier.

“This cannot be,” I said to no one even as I knew what I was looking at was owned by a company with its roots overseas and matters on its table not likely to include a dilapidated riverfront barrier.

But of course it was, so I visited Georgie Vining, Newburyport’s senior project manager, to fill me in on what he knew.

He could and did with the gist of it being that the riverfront bike and walking route will pass along the waterfront right of way through the power station property.

It will likely enter at a point beyond the westerly end of the yacht club’s property, and dip in an arc above and adjacent to what can be best described as a truly neglected remnant of what the Newburyport central waterfront had once been like.

All matters considered, when it comes to appreciating the result of neglect, there should be a replica site with a proper bench seat for travelers and a brief history of the city’s efforts to reclaim and restore its waterfront.

This is a rare opportunity to show and tell.


Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His e-mail address is

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