NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 5, 2013

Let's think outside Waterfront Park

My office is on the Merrimack riverbank a bit southwest of the Route 1 bridge. It is a remarkable privilege to work on the waterfront. I enjoy the beauty and refreshment of the views and the activity that I see on the river, in the park and on the boardwalk.

Each day a parade of Newburyporters walks (starting at dawn), meanders, jogs, sails, boats and otherwise traverses the waterfront. This is testament to the value the river has for all of us. It is a natural resource and it is in constant use: ice floes, eagles, Coast Guard, you name it.

While there is a real need to raise money to refurbish our boardwalk, there is also a need to protect and maintain the invaluable open space of our waterfront. Between all concerned citizens, the NRA, COW, developers, shop owners and everyone in between, I believe we can come up with a good plan if we look at the bigger picture.

Instead of accepting various zoning changes for a smattering of developers, each with their own intentions for a piece of our Waterfront Park, let’s ask how we want the entire city to grow and develop

for future commerce while preserving the quality of life citizens enjoy here.

I would encourage the NRA to prioritize marine and pedestrian activity near our riverfront, bringing maritime value into the city rather than bringing the city onto our riverbank. Let’s service the spring, summer and fall crowd that comes by boat to Newburyport; be sure the ways to the river are accessible and that there are boating facilities available to those who use them; encourage their use.

We already have a boat yard, a canvas shop, whale watches, kayak rentals, fishing vessels and dock space available on our riverfront. Is it realistic to encourage store owners to provide tackle, rods, navigational charts, etc., for fishermen and certain services, or actual parts, for their boats; foul weather gear, anyone?

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