Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ticket booth to move

I guess Katie Farrell was at the Waterfront Trust meeting last night.

Today's story in the DN is about the group agreeing to move the ticket booth for the charter boats off the boardwalk.

To settle the question (posed in one of the comments) about the Trust now not being able to charge dockage fees, I have this from Bill Harris:

Initially the Trustees of the Newburyport Waterfront had no powers to lease the property they managed. At the request of the Trustees in 1992, the settlement parties of the 1977-1980 litigation agreed to permit powers to lease plus associated safeguards. The Trustees could lease lands that were not pedestrian ways to and from the waterfront. They could lease Riverside Park except for the protected pedestrian ways. They were expressly prohibited from leasing any part of the public promenade (boardwalk) at river's edge. All leases were to be at "full and fair market value."
The Waterfront Trust got around this by not charging the charter boat owners any rent for the booth, but it is allowed to charge dockage fees, under the trust.

I don't see why, as was also suggested in the comments to the DN story, the tickets can't be sold at the Chamber of Commerce information booth. Will people really not go on a harbor tour or a whale watch if they have to walk a few feet away from the boats to buy a ticket?

I think the Maritime Museum is too far away, however - unless someone comes up with money to make the water at its bulkhead deep enough to moor a big boat there.

It seems that a lot of money is being spent on the rail trail and the harborwalk (not knocking these projects) and these poor charter boat owners are trying to make an honest buck providing a valuable, and really enjoyable, service. There could even be more, if money was being channelled to something that might actually attract tourists.

Who's going to come here because there's a harborwalk compared to someone who's looking for a whale watch? I recently convinced a friend in Michigan to come here instead of to Boston to go on a whale watch (his wife wants to see a whale and they've already visited Boston).

At least I think I convinced him. Well ... let's just say, if they come east at all, I think they will come here.

My point is - his wife didn't express a desire to see a harborwalk.

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