, Newburyport, MA


November 19, 2013

Time to change direction on NRA land


A group of residents back in the sixties and seventies had the foresight to fight the demolition of the downtown and save it from the wrecking ball. Can we today who have benefited from this amazing fortitude leave any less for future generations? Newburyport has evolved from that original plan to privately develop the waterfront with buildings that will only diminish what has served Newburyport well, both esthetically and financially.

There have been many NRA members appointed over the years since the hotel issue was resolved. Nothing has been done since then to improve the dirt lots or expand the park. This NRA means well but to hold the city hostage to an obsolete 1960s plan is ludicrous and a travesty if it moves forward.

In January, the mayor should sit down with the NRA and begin the process of finishing the Waterfront Park. As a show of good faith, the mayor can create a separate line item to be included in the yearly budget. Once the land is officially secured by the city, a percentage of the money from paid parking revenue and a substantial amount from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) should fund this line item annually. Most importantly, an ordinance should be brought in by the mayor and voted on by the City Council to declare the 4.2 acres a public city park.

The two Cecil Plans and the one submitted by the Citizens for an Open Waterfront (COW) can be looked at as a starting point to create a plan to finish the park. With ownership, a plan, and some money to match, Newburyport should be placed well up on the list for grant money. No large buildings, just negotiate, secure, thank the NRA for its’ service, fund, and build.

Let’s not have another generation dealing with this same issue 20 years from now. When Mr. Karp sees that the city is no longer divided and has a viable plan that will not only enhance what he may develop, but more than likely, increase its value, he may be more than willing to partner on a parking facility as might other businesses who plan to develop their properties.

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