Newburyport, a Hotel, the Waterfront

Mayor John Moak would very much like Mr. Stephen Karp to build a hotel on Mr. Karp’s waterfront property.

The only thing that would appear more cursed than resolving the Central Waterfront parking conundrum, would be a hotel on Newburyport’s waterfront.

Hmm… let’s see, Roger Foster had an awful lot of problems with a proposed hotel on the waterfront way back when. Didn’t do much for his pocket book, as I recall, a lot of litigation.

And, hmm… let’s see, my recollection is that the Lagasses, who bought a lot of property from Mr. Foster, also proposed a hotel on the waterfront. And that was way back whenever. That proposal is still being litigated, yo these many, many years later. (Newburyport Current, February 2, 2007)

The Newburyport hotel waterfront curse. Be a real selling point for anyone wanting to leap in yet again. And from what I can make out from the article by Ulrika Gerth in the Newburyport Current, February 2, 2007, there is a little bit of hesitation. No one appears to be running gleefully towards the notion with wide and inviting open arms.

Judging from past contentious history, the notion of a hotel might be approached with caution. But no, Mayor John Moak apparently would like to dive into this one.

“Mayor John Moak said attracting a hotel is a prime focus of his administration… “I know this administration, me and the Planning Department, would be much more interested in trying to tweak things if it means more overnight accommodations,” he said. “We’re committed to that and we know we have to make some compromises to make it work.” ” (Newburyport Current, February 2, 2007)

What has people puzzled to downright alarmed is the reference in the above quote by Mayor John Moak to “tweaking things” and “making some compromises to make it work,” much less having a hotel be his “prime focus” (big news to a lot of folks). A hotel at all costs? Tweaking? Compromising? If history is any indication it is possible that not all of Newburyport’s populace would necessarily agree.

And maybe one of the most discouraging things in the article in the Newburyport Current is not about Mayor John Moak, who is desperately trying to find money somewhere to pay for all the civic things that Newburyport doesn’t have money for (like our schools among other things). But the fact that Stephen Karp, who controls Newburyport’s destiny, has only bothered to have one conversation with the gentleman in the corner office.

And I find this very dispiriting indeed.

Mary Eaton