FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrew Port, Director of Planning & Development, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sasaki & City Officials Post Online Survey
Regarding Central Waterfront Park Expansion
Newburyport – Earlier this year, City officials hired the renowned design firm Sasaki Associates to complete schematic design for the long awaited expansion of the central waterfront park in downtown Newburyport. A new online survey from Sasaki aims to gather community input on key design considerations related to the park expansion. This survey can be accessed here: bit.ly/market-landing-park-survey.
The survey should take only 5-10 minutes to complete and will remain online until July 14. The public is encouraged to participate so that Sasaki and the Ad Hoc Committee have the broadest possible input from the larger community as schematic design plans are refined in the coming months.
The existing 4.4 acre park land was taken by eminent domain by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority (NRA) as part of an urban renewal project in 1968 and was developed into a park over several years, beginning in the early 1970’s. The Newburyport Waterfront Trust was established in 1991 to oversee maintenance of the existing park and to ensure public access to the waterfront forever. The remaining central waterfront land under control of the NRA (approximately 4.7 acres) was a focal point of community debate for the decades that followed with various redevelopment plans and concepts considered but ultimately rejected in one way or another. During that time the NRA east and west lots were maintained as dirt and paved parking areas with peak usage in the summer months. While municipal parking is relied upon by downtown businesses and tourists, recent construction of the Titcomb Street Parking Garage has enabled the City to reduce the overall size of parking lots flanking Market Landing Park. Throughout all this time Newburyport’s constituents have advocated for the expansion of Market Landing Park and related aesthetic improvements to an area once designated by the NRA as “blighted.” That designation in the 1960’s allowed access to federal funds for the restoration of historic downtown Newburyport.
In June 2020 the Massachusetts legislature dissolved the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority (NRA) as requested by vote of the Newburyport City Council. In accordance with the Special Act and City Council resolution, all land and assets of the former NRA were transferred to the City of Newburyport for use in creating and maintaining an expanded Market Landing Park. In 2020 the City’s Office of Planning & Development issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from qualified design firms interested in developing schematic plans and cost estimates, as well as detailed drawings and specifications suitable for bidding and construction. An “Ad Hoc Committee on Market Landing Park Expansion” was established by the City Council for the purpose of overseeing the progress of design work by Sasaki Associates, the lead firm selected by the Committee. These design and consulting services are now underway with completion anticipated in fall 2021. Upon completion of this schematic design phase Sasaki will provide the detailed plans and specifications necessary for public bidding and construction.
A project webpage with regular updates can be found on the City website at the following URL: https://www.cityofnewburyport.com/planning-development/market-landing-pa...
This webpage includes a recording and presentation slides provided to the Ad Hoc Committee by Sasaki Associates at their meeting on June 30. Of particular note are several slides and visuals addressing key design considerations being weighed by the design team, which are paralleled in the online survey questions.
For more information, contact Andrew Port, Director of Planning & Development, at email@example.com