Nomination of the Waterside as 1 of 100 "Regional Milestones"
in "celebration" of the Essex Heritage's 10-year anniversary
To follow is the nomination of the Waterside community of Newburyport as one of Essex National Heritage Area's 100 regional milestones forwarded in a Motion of Comity on March 31, 2006.

Link within to view the Essex National Heritage Commission certificate presented at the ENHC celebration held June 1, 2006 ~ thereafter displayed at Newburyport City Hall. And mark your calendars for the Waterside community gam to be held on July 29 ~ held in a Motion of Comity with Yankee Homecoming (link within) ~ where and when we remark the many milestones in the Waterside's history and history in the making ~ and build a cairn to mark that we have come this far.

In celebration of the 10-year milestone of its own organization in 1996, the Essex National Heritage Area was seeking nominations for 100 milestones, accomplished by the special places and people of this region from 1996 - 2006 (see link without). The following is the text nominating "the Waterside community of Newburyport." As the kind reader will come to know, we took a different tack in "cerebration" of our history and history in the making.

nominee: "the Waterside community" of Newburyport

milestone: In celebration of the Essex National Heritage Area's 10-year milestone, in a "Motion of Comity," (*) we nominate the community of Newburyport as one of the 100 regional "remarkable transformations" during the timeframe (1996- 2006). In doing so, we take a page out of the history books by taking a measure of the (riparian) "living stones" ~ today's generations of the Waterside people (**) who are responsible for the "community in the work" in the last decade (1996 - 2006).

Throughout recorded history Newburyport has experienced several "remarkable transformations" ~ its halcyon days being a period of renown as "the Clipper Ship capital of the world" ~ and a generation ago, during the heyday of downtown restoration, which would follow the realization of a vision for Lord Timothy Dexter Industrial Green. (Both award-winning developments which will soon be reviewed, resulting in their "regeneration" for a new generation.)

But what of the qualifying timeframe? Let us quantify ~ for during the past decade, numerous historical and generational milestones in Newburyport's history coincided with some "history in the making." (***)

Launched anew with a historical presentation made on city council floor (February 8, 1999) to remark the 235th anniversary of the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury's first town meeting ~ the Waterside "Plan in Motion" was set for the next 5-year term (in anticipation of a landmark generational milestone in 2004). Newburyport was poised to take tandem "courses of action" (in 2000-1) which enveloped planning for the City's sesquicentennial anniversary (150-year milestone as a city form of government) with development of the City's Master Plan ~ both culminating in 2001, during "The Year of Inauguration" (March 25, 2001 - March 25, 2002). (****)

As retraced in the footnotes below, the Newburyport community has undertaken a number of ambitious projects (*****) ~ and ("in a Motion of Comity") these have been objectively measured these from time to time ~ gathering information about milestones in history and "history in the making" in the virtual sense ~ and when it makes sense, in "corporeal" community gatherings to remark milestone occasions ~ and to figuratively (or literally) build a "cairn" to indicate we have come this far.

At this point in time [Ed. Spring 2006], the website is under revision for "The Year of Common Ground" (March 25, 2006 - March 24, 2007). Plans are underway for a benchmark (of sorts) held "in a Motion of Comity" with Yankee Homecoming: the Waterside community "gam" to be held after the Yankee Homecoming (A Festival for the Senses) noontide opening ceremony on July 29th (******) ~ which will bring visibility and viability for community works ~ as well as momentum for the Friendship's visit to Newburyport (August 24th - 26th).

In closing, while it would be difficult to select but one "milestone" from the Waterside's community in the work over the last decade (as footnoted below) ~ were we to choose just one, it would certainly be the last: Set just the spring of this the "Year of Common Ground" ~ the year when Newburyport and Newbury remark the shared milestone in history that ~ after two generations of litigation which commenced after their separation ~ the two communities finally came to resolution (in 1826) over the common grounds (in Newburyport's loci: Market Landing and Bartlet Mall's Frog Pond).

And so, "in a Motion of Comity" we submit a shared milestone "history in the making" for Newbury and Newburyport ~ for the "remarkable 'reclamation'" of the Herrick property, now "Coffin's Island" so called ~ given the combined efforts of the Town of Newbury and the City of Newburyport, the State of Massachusetts (funded by private and public entities) which shall reclaim this certain lot of "common ground" for the common weal.

********* FOOTNOTES *********

* "Motion of Comity" (or "Comity" so called) is not an organization, but an organic movement comprising all generations of the Waterside and the Waterside people ~ and the regeneration of that Spirit. The movement is strengthened by the continuous exercise of the body politic, representatives and constituents, together.

[The phrase is a ply of terms found in the annals of local history and combined, suggests several meanings. Fostering what is called a Sense of Place in continuity with the past ~ the expression also imparts a Sense of Purpose and progress in the present and future. For more insight, please refer to the Comity website, direct hyperlink

Coincidentally, the movement has as its "exponent" and motivator, Newburyport's most activist "sitteson" Lord Timothy Dexter ~ whose "form in motion" will be joining the ENHC's celebration on June 1st. (Come to know more with review of the insight at the aforementioned website and Lord Tim's "virtual seat on the noue systom of knollege & Lite" at]

** This phrase takes its inspiration from the second generation of "the Waterside people" who, during King Philip's War (in 1675-1676), had been urged by the Massachusetts Bay General Court to consider a bulwark wall (of some making) in the region at the mouth of the Merrimack River ~ and who forwarded representation to the Council to convey that they had duly considered the proposed plans and "think it not feasible" to affect the desired objective ~ suggesting instead a "living wall" of "living stones" that might adapt and "range to and fro" to accomplish these goals. And so, in lieu of one set "milestone" ~ this nomination recommends today's generations of the Waterside people who "range to and fro" ~ ever heedful, ever watchful, ever thoughtful --- thus ensuring the peace (and security) and prosperity of their community in the work.

*** The "ambits" of what is commonly considered Newburyport commenced with settlement as "the Waterside" portion of Newbury in 1644, its inhabitants known as "the Waterside people" were to later form the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury (in the 1720s) which would be incorporated as the separate town of Newburyport in 1764. Nearly three generations later, Newburyport was to annex Joppa and Belleville (these being the Waterside's original 1644 ambits) and in quick succession organized as a city form of government, which was inaugurated on June 24, 1851.

The "ambitions" of the Waterside people have been plied as "history and history in the making" ~ with the Waterside Plan in Motion renewed in 1999, in anticipation of a new generation which would culminate in a "Once in a Blue Moon opportunity" remarked in 2004. Please visit the website for more insight, hindsight and foresight.

**** Noting the website, benchmarks are set according to the old style "Julian" calendar, assessing progress of the Waterside "Plan in Motion." So while not certain this will qualify for the rules of the ENHC's nominating process ~ (given the rule of a familiar game is that "paper covers rock") ~ let us presume that 1) the Waterside people's memorialized 1763 petition and its timeless agenda; 2) the 1851 City Charter, with Section 20 encouraging an activist citizenry; and 3) the 2001 Master Plan with its motto "Shaping our Future, Honoring our Past" (with its contingent strategic plans) ~ three documents which remain guiding principles and "groundwork" ~ providing solid footing upon which we as a community set our foundation stones, cornerstones, and (continue to) remark our milestones. With (1) and (2) reflecting that past and (3) effectively presenting future needs affecting the future (with corollary planning and implementation).

And with the completion of Newburyport's Master Plan in 2001 (which set goals for managing growth and development with emphasis on analyzing its build-out potential, evaluating infrastructure needs and modifying the zoning ordinance to better shape future development) ~ thus "inaugurating" goals which have been since codified with zoning ordinances and overlay plans ~ and have since resulted in impressive "smart growth" projects.

A corollary Waterfront Strategic Plan (WSP) focusing on the harbor and waterfront and Strategic Land Use Plan (SLUP) focusing on the southern portion of the community ~ which contain Newburyport's last undeveloped land (the latter including the industrial park and Route 1 gateway/commuter rail station) will certainly shape several "remarkable transformations."

[The SLUP resulted in a "remarkable reclamation" and acquisition of the "North" (Common) Pasture and the upland "common ground" held by Newbury and Newburyport (once the Herrick property, renamed "Coffin's Island") which is to open for passive recreation this spring. (A creative "smart growth" overlay plan for private development tangential to the North Pasture is underway.)

And of course, the WSP process in 2004 resulted in the Waterside West Overlay District (WWOD), a model for future private development on the waterfront ~ which will be transpire in concert with the municipal planning for the central waterfront (the NRA lots).]

***** It is not an easy feat to identify one "milestone" ~ thus the thrust of using the Master Plan as strong footing/groundwork at which today's generations of the Waterside people build an ever-growing "cairn" to indicate that we have come this far. (Refer to the and Web site, with direct reference at

And along the way, there have been many: the Cashman Park Revetment to prevent riverside erosion and add a new pedestrian pathway with improvements of the children's park and boating access; the new Cherry Hill playing fields and the skateboard park at the RAN middle school, both privately funded community projects; the Newburyport Public Library renovation/expansion completed in 2001; the Newburyport School renovation/expansion, reopening in the fall of 2002; the Waterfront Boardwalk renovation and extension, completed in the spring of 2003; the High Street renovation, resurfacing and improving universal access with streetscape and pedestrian improvements, completed in 2003; and working closely with the Town of Newbury and the DEP, the long-planned Plum Island Water/Sewer with a groundbreaking in 2004; the hazardous waste site remediation project and renovations of Perkins Park, recently completed in concert with Massachusetts Electric; the recent restorations of the Bartlet Mall promenade and Moseley Woods, with commissions established for ongoing care.

Two examples demonstrating the results of creative "smart growth" ~ The Federal Street project is a showcase "overlay district" in the historic South End and the soon-to-be-completed Foundry project will realize affordable housing units on the former city-owned parcel of land on Merrimack Street. Along with the Master Plan and other implemented guidelines, implementation of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capture "landbase" information to assist in planning and the efficient delivery of services to the public.

Ongoing, the "Rail Trail" project, a bicycle and pedestrian trail will link the Newburyport commuter rail station with downtown Newburyport, the waterfront and various neighborhoods; over the last decade, an ongoing proposition for a structured parking facility, launched with the 1996 Transportation Bond Bill, and extended to 2006, which may be revisited and revised with a short- and long-term vision for the NRA waterfront lots; the Senior Center, with the community working with the State to obtain funding and secure a site for construction ~ these being "future milestones" on the horizon.

****** And so, quoted Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving." Which is what the Waterside community gam on July 29th "benchmark" when Lord Tim comes home again "toue see houe you all goue on." (Visit the and Web sites for more information ~ and to come to know more why it makes perfect sense for Dexter playing a key role on stage and page.)


This will prove a perfect opportunity to assess where we have been, where we are, and where we are going ~ and remark several historical and generational milestones, including the 200th year milestone of Dexter's passing on October 23, 1806 ~ Bringing momentum to the opportunity ("history in the making") for preservation of Old Hill Burying Ground (along with the many historical burial grounds in this region) ~ a goal to set forth "in a Motion of Comity" with the Essex National Heritage Commission and Department of Conservation and Recreation symposia this year. And so on.

nominee info: Please contact the City of Newburyport Mayor's Office at or the Office of Planning Office, Geordie Vining at for information about Newburyport's "community in the work" --- A "Milestones" Web page (see link within) will be posted to the website for additional reference. Thank you.