Newburyport Parks Department might enter Parker Street lease

RICHARD K. LODGE / Staff Photo. The Newburyport Parks Department is looking into a 5-year lease of part of the space inside 50 Parker St., Newburyport.

NEWBURYPORT — In its pursuit of a longer-term home, the Parks Department is looking to enter a five-year lease at 50 Parker St., which would fulfill department needs such as a breakroom and workspace for employees, as well as storage space and a loading dock.

The state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance recently notified the city that the National Guard intends to sell the property at 57 Low St., where  the department currently houses equipment. 

The City Council voted against purchasing the property earlier this year.

The city has long had an informal, lease-free, rent-free arrangement to use the space. The National Guard does not have any interest in moving forward with a lease, Mayor Donna Holaday said at a council meeting in May.

At Monday's meeting, Councilor at large Charles Tontar sponsored Order 256, which is a letter of intent from the mayor to enter into a lease as a tenant of 50 Parker St.

The property is owned by 230-232 East 49th St. Associates.

The five-year lease at $9.25 per square foot per year with a 3% increase in the fourth and fifth years would begin July 1, if all is approved. 

The total space is 5,100 square feet.

The lease rate would be $47,776 per year for the first three years, followed by $50,359 in the fourth year and $51,650 in the fifth year. Lease payments after the first year would be included in the operating budget starting in fiscal 2023, the mayor said.

The official lease has not yet been shared with the council, because it's under review by the city solicitor, KP Law. 

The mayor noted that the site has been posted in the Central Registry, as required under the state Chapter 30B Uniform Procurement Act. The site is listed as an "uniqueness" exception though due to the specifics of the loading dock and other specifics of the space, Holaday said. 

The council voted 10-1 to refer this "letter of intent to lease" to the Committee on Neighborhoods & City Services for further discussion. Ward 1 Councilor Sharif Zeid voted against sending it to committee. 

Also during the meeting, the council, on the first of two readings, unanimously approved an ordinance to limit on-street parking on Merrimac Street during "prescheduled, permitted events at the Lower Atkinson Common Fields."

This ordinance, sponsored and amended slightly during the meeting by Ward 4 Councilor Christine Wallace, is part of efforts to make Merrimac Street, specifically from its intersection of Moulton Street to its intersection of Plummer Avenue, safer during games and other activities at the Lower Atkinson Common Fields. 

The council recently voted to approve the designation of a safety zone, which would make this area a 20-mph zone. 

To view the full packet from Monday's meeting, go to https://www.cityofnewburyport.com/city-council/events/291751.

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