Let’s be clear on the Waterfront Issue

As you can see, the Mayor has given us a confusing scenario – wants the open waterfront park and in the same breath wants buildings and commercial activity in the same place.    And selling some lots on Water Street seems to be the suggested solution. 

Now I dread bringing up this issue since each long-term resident’s vision of the waterfront comes with long and painful memories.     Since I have been around for 25 years, I thought I would clarify the situation with some pictures to help demonstrate where we are right now for all our recent newcomers.

First, to understand where open waterfront advocates stand, take a look at what was proposed first by the NRA back in the late sixties and what was proposed by Roger Foster.

Waterfront Original Plans Nightmare Plans for Waterfront

Okay, so you can see why oldtimers have a knee-jerk reaction – pure horrors!

Now the Cecil Group came up with a perfect compromise.     Unfortunately, they were trying to make everyone happy so it looks more like a Disneyland replicating activities that are already going on Downtown.   It also contained too much parking– but it was a decent plan if it had been simplified.

Cecil Group Plan

One of the little-known sticking points with the open waterfront group is a demand for water views from Green Street.         As you can see, this is fulfilled nicely:

Waterfront Views

And as you can notice, there are two new buildings proposed to the west of the firehouse.      This fulfills James Shanley’s call for restoring a streetscape along Merrimac Street and yet providing those ocean views.    And it gives us some buildings that are close to the street, and away from the contaminated fill of the waterfront.


Now they are proposing a waterfront park but now they want buildings on Water Street.     But you may ask, “Isn’t there already buildings on Water Street?”      Yes they are!

This can only mean the following:

Buildings on Water Street Proposal

They want some developer to clean up the contaminated soil for the ‘park’ and yet give that same developer enough building to justify some commercial business plan that is profitable.

Of course, these are just blocks on a map but it will give you a clearer idea of what they are rolling around in their heads.      

After seeing this, be sure to show up at the Firehouse on the 16th better informed as to what is being proposed.

Personally, I thought buildings on the west side would work much better, so why are they being abandoned?*      

All I can say, and maybe because it’s close to the river, but I’m sniffing and finding a fishy smell!

-P. Preservationist

* Of course – they want a private developer to do the dirty work of hazardous material cleanup.     A commenter on the online Daily News had a good question.     Why has the NRA not approached the CPC for money?      One of the authorized uses of the CPA funds is open space, in particular new park property.      Good point, good question.

This entry was posted in Businesses, Developers, Economics, History, Open Space, Organizations, Parking, Parks, Planning, Recreation, Streetscape, Waterfront. Bookmark the permalink.

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