The Waterside Plan in Motion
~ Coming to terms ~ in 5-year terms ~

"The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving." --- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Progress is the activity of today and the assurance of tomorrow."
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
--- Ralph Waldo Emerson, who has been quoted to have quipped ...
"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

The Plan in Motion was first framed in a petition to the provincial General Court of Massachusetts requesting the Waterside Third Parish be set off from Newbury as the separate town of Newburyport --- a remonstrance granted and enacted on February 4, 1764. Asking they be enabled as a community, the Waterside people defined specific goals which could be realized with less partisanship and more comity and compromise.

Theirs was a timeless agenda that sought excellent public schools, engagement of youth as future citizens of the commonwealth, well planned maintenance of roadways and infrastructure, versatile use of public buildings, investment in utility and fire equipment, equitable taxation and prudent fiscal management. With their words and actions, the Waterside people set a cogent, consonant Plan in Motion for generations to follow --- a Sense of Purpose to complement a Sense of Place.

A contemporary 5-year term of the Plan in Motion began with an historical presentation made on city council floor February 8, 1999 to remark the 235th anniversary of Newburyport's first town meeting. The evening's agenda would also include a State of the City address by then Mayor Mary Carrier. The reflection of the past (and inspection of the present) was punctuated with a rhetorical question about the direction Newburyport would move in the future: In particular, the way we as a community would effectively examine and establish our goals ~ as the Waterside people of today move into a new millennium and prepare to mark a new generation.

Goals and Objectives for the Plan in Motion 5-year term (1999 - 2004)

  • Renew the Waterside Plan in Motion ~ with a Sense of Purpose and Spirit of Community
    • reinstating an annual public "town meeting" forum (link within)
      • as allowed under Section 20 of the original 1851 city charter
    • To serve as an annual (premier) "benchmark" to assess "where we are" and influence "where we are going" at a critical point in the budget process
      • adapting the "old style" annual town meeting to today's conversation
      • and using timelines set by the old style Julian calendar year (March 25th to March 24th) to provide the movement a continuity independent of the establishment's election cycle
    • ideally pursued as a multi-generational community project
      • involving schools at all grade levels: specific consignment of the HS civics class and community service program, and eventually, the new high school's media arts program
    • and if well received, experiment with a second "benchmark" in the September/October timeframe1 and then consider quarterly sessions
      • alternatively, organize "benchmark" community gams "in a Motion of Comity" (e.g., during Yankee Homecoming)

  • Institute and utilize tools for better communications as a community
    • implement a city Web site, with components and/or complements to the site offering
      • a chronicled log of information
      • a virtual community bulletin board
      • a virtual meetinghouse
      • an online community calendar
    • regular publication of extracted content, independently and in concert with the local press
    • make better use of cable and radio, expand cable live coverage of meetings
    • ideally coordinated with the schools as part of their media arts curriculum
  • Commence/complete the Master Plan and associated studies, including
    • the long range building plans for the Elementary Schools
    • the Harbor/Waterfront Strategic Plan
    • a study of land use in the area of Route 95, Low and Hale Streets, Graf and Parker Roads
    • weave the planning process with the City's 150th year milestone celebration in June 2001
      • organizing a "City upon a Hill" summit and other forums and gatherings in (pro)Motion of Comity
      • informally reviewing the City Charter, exploring ways to adapt the Charter as necessary
        • discussing a course of action for formal review of the current City Charter and form (Plan B) of city government

  • In the process, better engage all generations ~ through the school programs such as the Sense of Place, the then newly formed youth commission and Council on Aging (and newly formed Friends of the Council on Aging)
    • promote inter-generational relationships and programs while
    • encouraging progress in the construction of the Senior and Teen Centers or preferably,
    • consider a multi-generational community center as an alternative
      • as perceived for the Firehouse over a decade ago

  • Adopt a flagship and figurehead for the movement
    • deploy the Ship as a motif for the Plan in Motion
      • with compass and calendar, cartogram and chronicle
      • explore expanding maritime and community boating programs
        • immediately engage the youth committee/commission
    • refocus the vision "A View from the Custom House"
    • engage those party to the unending conversation about the downtown Waterfront in the movement
    • and in (pro)Motion of Comity, symbolically
      • monument Market Square in the year 2001, marking the 200 year anniversary the original situ of the Waterside Meetinghouse was made a public way forever
      • formally restore the historic reference Somerby's Landing (the "historic waye to the Waterside" at the base of Green Street) to mark its milestone anniversaries in 1751 and 1752

  • Better relate (to) and appreciate our heritage, the historical facts and foundation as well as historical architecture
    • encourage community events of celebration and "cerebration"
      • attempt to integrate these within the DOE framework and other campaigns
    • build an online knowledge base of "institutional memory" recalling the distant and more recent past
      • generate more online (and print) publication
        • engaging all generations in the effort via the schools, Youth Commission, the Council on Aging and adult education
      • Coming Full Circle to encourage "familiar commerce" (social interchange) and better communications in the community
        • while adapting to the challenges of today's lifestyles
    • marking milestones in history and history in the making along the way, culminating in a Once in a Blue Moon opportunity in 2004

Current Benchmark

Where are we as a community as we complete the last quarter of the old style calendar year, March 25, 2009 - March 24, 2010 termed "The Year of Charting (New) Courses"?

The second contemporary five-year term of the Waterside Plan in Motion was completed during the old style calendar year 2009, which culminated with a Once in a Blue Moon opportunity on (the new style calendar) New Year's Eve. The Waterside people have begun the third 5-year term of the Waterside's new generation. And despite the biennial political change during the past decade, which resulted in five different administrations since launching this plan anew in 1999 ~ there has been considerable progress and continuity. As well as inertia.

A measure of progress found at the link within. Updates to content presently under revision for the Once in a Blue Moon benchmark (December 31, 2009) will be posted by Candlemas. As promised during her campaign and transition, and duly noted in her inspirational inaugural address, the honorable Mayor Donna Holaday plans to hold a public forum within a month of taking office. She also encouraged city councillors to hold monthly "town meeting" like forums for their constituents. In addition to links from the City website, the website will include record of this discourse and the charted course of action.

[For insight/hindsight of the present administration's broader vision, Mayor Holaday's inaugural address delivered on January 4, 2010 can be found at this link within ~ archived on this website with the permission of the administration and publisher.]


1 The event was to serve as the fall "follow-through" on issues and ideas seeded with the spring "Annual ('town meeting') Forum" and its sequel "follow-up" conversation. The "town meeting" forum itself would be the purview of the ward councilors, the follow-up conversation more the role of the councilors-at-large, and the follow-through forum would be organized by the Mayor's Office in the fall. The new administration promised to reveal plans for better communicating as a community within the next month.

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