NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Port in Progress

June 15, 2007

30 years later, city's front porch is showing its age

Click here to return to the Port in Progress Homepage

Like many Newburyport natives, Barbara Dresser can track the big changes in her life by the health of Newburyport's central waterfront.

She first brought her children to look at the water from the ragged banks, then came back as they grew older and the boardwalk was built. She regularly joined her husband for lunch on the boardwalk. Now, nearly every night, she visits with friends she met on the boardwalk, sits on a bench dedicated to her late husband, and looks out from the city's front porch.

The waterfront was always there | and always changing.

"I used to come down here with my kids, before there was anything, and now they're 42 and 45," she said.

Thirty years after it was built, the boardwalk is at once newly renovated and struggling for survival. With some components at the end of their expected life, Newburyport's promenade is threatened by unexpectedly rapid decay in its seawall.

"Can you play pro football 35 years?" asks Jack Bradshaw, who led the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority when the boardwalk and waterfront were established. "I don't think so, even with all the padding and the helmets. It's worn. It's expected to be worn."

Geordie Vining, senior project manager for the city's planning department, said 2002 renovations put long-lasting decking on the top and repaired everything on the land side of the boardwalk, which had endured aging as well as anyone expected when it was built in 1977.

"I think we've basically gotten our money's worth out of the initial boardwalk," he said. "It's just a terrific, an amazing piece of infrastructure, and we're well set for the next generation with the boardwalk itself. Now we have to fix the waterside portion of it so we don't have to worry about it for another generation."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Port in Progress

Offbeat
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans