Plausible Deniability

I realize that I stirred up a hornet’s nest when I brought up the issue of the design of the parking garage; but I had a purpose.       Just because new construction is allowed inside a National Register historic district doesn’t mean that it is exempted regardless of what a bunch of dark siders think.       It doesn’t have to be the same architecture but it needs to conform to the dimensions and mass of the surrounding buildings.       A good example is Merrimack Landing – it is actually a contemporary building but it blends into the Downtown, so should the front façade of the parking garage.      Not to belabor the point, but that is what the Waterfront Strategic Plan supports.

Well, of course, after the incredible claims made by MVRTA’s Kleinfelder design team, how would you respond?

“The MVRTA and the City of Newburyport have proposed constructing an intermodal parking facility in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The five-story parking facility would provide inter-city/commuter bus bays and alleviate significant parking challenges for the City. The client hired* Kleinfelder to provide a variety of services, including design* and compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act.”

And then after making such outrageous statements, they revealed a hideous parking garage!

This, of course, runs counter to the recent comments by the Mayor,

“There is no design in place, only a schematic concept and some older renderings that were circulated years ago,”     And she continues, once a designer is chosen, meetings will be scheduled with the community “to discuss design and begin what will be a lengthy, deliberative, and participatory process.”

Not being a journalist, I still made the precautions to screen capture the designs and the interesting statements made by Kleinfelder’s team.         After probably a rather nasty firestorm, the entire page along with the designs have been removed from their website.    I’m linking my screen capture for two reasons:

1. So, as often happens over the many decades I have lived here, plausible deniability will be prevented with statements like, “Prove it!  And, “We never said that!”

2. That the very helpful advice by Kleinfelder as to properly designing the garage will be taken to heart and worth reading!

Kleinfelder advocated that the city approach the [Newburyport] historic commission first to gain buy-in before* entering Section 106 consultation…..suggestion to actively engage with the Newburyport Historic Commission early*.”

This is opposite with what the Mayor said last night.       So be it!

I think they have a valid point and I think citizens across Newburyport ought to embrace this point and insist on this point so the garage is done right.

-P. Preservationist


* My highlights.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Developers, Downtown, Education, News and politics, Planning, Waterfront, Zoning. Bookmark the permalink.

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