, Newburyport, MA


February 6, 2013

'Bookends' don't belong on Waterfront Park


And although Central Park, which was designed by America’s great landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, was completed in the 1890s, apparently it was necessary to resist development even after completion, for “In 1902 when a private Central Park Association was formed one of its functions was to resist those who still wanted to appropriate park land for their own use” (”Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.,” Fabos, Milde & Weinmayr ).

Had those earlier developers succeeded in building residential or commercial blocks on the Public Garden land and the land dedicated to Central Park, each of these great cities would be missing a splendid treasure and an attraction of significant charm and great pleasure.

Can Newburyport afford to cast off its opportunity by allowing developers to build condominiums to “bookend” the green area? The Union Studio representative at the September 2012 NRA presentation at the Firehouse used the term “bookend,” saying that a green area, i.e., a park, is visually enhanced by buildings behind it. I think it is the other way around, and I think that the buildings would be gaining much visually from the Waterfront Park while the structures would be detracting from it, literally. If the “bookending” concept is sold in Newburyport, I think the inventor of the term could have a great future in selling snake oil or financial derivatives. In addition, these “bookends” would also use some existing open park space, cast shadows and take up numerous parking spaces.

Jane Boyer


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