Newburyport, The Waterfront Opus

The Mayor’s Task Force on the Waterfront also meets tonight (Police Station Conference Room, 6:00 PM) So many civic things going on ( yes, don’t forget the Public Hearing on the “Infill Ordinance” 7:30 PM, City Hall, City Council Chambers.) Let’s all run around in circles and try and figure out how to go to all these meetings plus get something to eat for dinner.

What will happen this time a la Waterfront Task Force — the latest episode in Newburyport’s enduring, multi-decade Waterfront saga.

This is the latest installment, of what may be one of the longest running ongoing “happening” (my, that dates me; you’ll just have to get out your dictionary or even revert to Googling if you have no idea what a “happening” was or maybe still is) in Newburyport’s (three, maybe four decades, one begins to lose track) civic drama.

This chapter stars Mayor John Moak, a former mayor and a surprise guest appearance by a long time, much loved (I gather) preservationist (you’ve noticed I’m leaving out names now, hoping that upset emails and phone calls will diminish??) The plot centers around the desire to pave over the Central Waterfront by apparently, it seems to me, clouding the issue with legal mumbo-jumbo. (Is this too catty of moi?)

The tension in this particular drama comes from a colorful brigade who are fighting for at least some semblance of a park on this gorgeous piece of priceless property along the scenic Merrimac River.

And then there’s the chorus, those in Newburyport who have seen the latest version of the new Waterfront possible plan and are saying “Say what? The green part is where?”

Can’t you just feel the conflict? Could this possibly be made into a PBS Special?

My prediction, is it won’t be picked up by PBS, alas, or even Bravo (frankly “Project Runway” was just so much more compelling.) And this act, like so many, many before it, (I hope) will end in a heap and a jumble. And when we have the next administration, we will have the enormous treat of having a whole new “plot” and the Waterfront saga may “entertain” us all by a never ending bevy of complete confusion.

The chorus of course will remain somewhat the same. It once said, “You want a parking garage where?” What will it say next? One thing that does seem for sure, three-part harmony (or any harmony at all for that matter) seems unlikely. Dissonance does appear to be the one unifying “note” on this ongoing, going on way more than a quarter of a century, emotionally charged, stunningly hapless Waterfront magnum opus.

Mary Eaton