The mission statement of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority is “to revitalize blighted or deteriorated areas of the city,” reflecting the look of Inn Street and other downtown areas in 1960 when the NRA was formed.
Today, it owns two river-abutting parking lots and a fragment of open space, all of which could be improved but none of which are blighted or deteriorated.
During a May 2014 workshop convened by Mayor Holaday and attended by 100+ residents, 11 maps were crowdsourced and indicate waterfront land be void of residential or commercial structures. Here are links to see the maps and read a news story.
Since that event last year, the NRA is in the news to build a pop-up park and improve lighting.
Massachusetts law, under Chapter 121B Section 4, specifies that “whenever a redevelopment authority determines that there is no further need for its existence, and that all outstanding obligations of the authority have been satisfied, it may by a majority vote of the five members submit the question of its dissolution… to the municipal officers.”
I believe the NRA is an anachronism. I thank its members past and present for their volunteerism to the city but I think the time is now for the NRA to end.
I thank Councilors Bob Cronin and Larry Giunta for joining me in co-sponsoring a resolution that asks the authority to vote on dissolution. Note that this is not an order. We don’t have the jurisdiction to order them to do anything. Nor should we.
If there is an affirmative vote, the resolution also suggests NRA land is conveyed to City Hall until the new parking garage is built and then the land is conveyed again to the Newburyport Waterfront Trust.
I anticipate and hope for a lot of debate. Let’s talk about this in public session.
Charter rules indicate new measures cannot be voted upon in one session. This means the resolution will be introduced on Monday, July 13; but it will likely be held until a council vote on August 10.