Newburyport, the Central Waterfont, the Task Force

Oy Veh…the article in today’s Newburyport Daily News, Thursday, June 29, 2006 on Mayor John Moak’s task force on the future of Newburyport’s Waterfront.

I hate it when all those red flags are actually red flags (see earlier post.)

Yup, this does appear to be a vehicle to further the Mayor’s agenda for Newburyport’s Waterfront (i.e. paving it over.) Sigh.

Yes, the initial results of the survey are in (the final results should be in by the end of July), guess what? “36 percent in support of a larger park with parking reduced to about 100 spaces. An additional 44 percent supported expansion of the park with about 200 parking spaces remaining. About 10 percent support all parking.”

You can bet your bottom dollar that this was absolutely not what Mayor John Moak had in mind (only 10 percent support all parking,) so yes, voila the “task force.”

The article in the Newburyport Daily News says, “Moak also reiterated his waterfront goal to primarily keep parking. To meet downtown parking demands, Moak said, the city needs to keep all spaces in the west parking lot and three-quarters of the parking in the east lot.”

And apparently the argument for the “original purpose of urban renewal” is being touted as the excuse for not heeding the results of the Waterfront survey.

To quote attorney William Harris who is serving as a citizen representative along with former Mayor Byron Matthews (see earlier post.)

“The solution should reflect the original purpose of urban renewal, Harris said, which was to support a vibrant business district.

‘If we don’t have a central waterfront that supports the central business district, then we failed the urban renewal plan.’ ”

Oy Veh…I do not know what we as citizens do when the Mayor of Newburyport makes such an obvious and blatant circumvention of the democratic process.

Mary Eaton,