, Newburyport, MA


February 13, 2013

Time to move forward on waterfront


Some may argue that we don’t need that activity; however, many others like myself disagree. It is a shame to have to leave the waterfront and its views for the amenities that the downtown offers. Why can’t we have commerce at the water? Isn’t this combination what put our city on the map?

I know there are folks who decry the loss of any square foot of open space. But adding maximum square footage of unbounded plantings and parking is not the way to create to good space in the heart of a downtown. Sometimes structures are the best tools in creating space: to contain it, to define proper edges, frame views, add activity, life and vibrancy to a place. To fill holes in the urban fabric, to complete streetscapes and encourage pedestrian flow.

Our central waterfront is not the place for large, open spaces full of recreational activities. For that we have Cashman Park, The Mall or the expanding bike path. The central waterfront should not try to be the pastoral setting along the water that Maudslay/Mosley Pines already is. It should be where commerce and activity meet the water’s edge. Plain and simple. Just as it had been for centuries of Newburyport’s history.

Let’s not continue to hold the waterfront hostage so that it might be something we already have and something that it historically never was.


Alex Dardinski lives in Newburyport.

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