In Lynn, the emphasis is on the waterfront

May 2, 2017

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
This shot of the master plan was on display during the first of four public hearings.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Picture this along the city’s waterfront: A drive-in movie theater, soccer fields, playgrounds, a bike path, kayak and roller skate rentals, and locally owned boutique shops.

These were among the suggestions that came from more than 100 residents who filled the City Council chamber Tuesday night to make their voices heard in the first of four public meetings designed to complete a waterfront Open Space Master Plan.

Hosted by the Lynn Economic Development & Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, and Brown, Richardson + Rowe, the Boston landscape architect firm, it was an opportunity for the team to hear ideas for locating potential new parks, public spaces and a promenade along the waterfront.

Kathy Wrynn encouraged a pedestrian overpass to link the non-waterside of the Lynnway to the waterfront.   

“Connection to the waterfront is key,” she said.

Rolf Flor said art must be an essential part of whatever is done along the water.

“We don’t just need green space,” he said. “Just look at the artwork that was done in the downtown. It’s lasted a long time and it’s become part of the city’s fabric.”

Joan LeBlanc, executive director of the Saugus River Watershed Council, said Lynn has an opportunity to become a blueprint for public access to water for the rest of Massachusetts.

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Isaac Simon Hodes, who said he was a member of Lynn United for Change but was representing himself as a longtime resident, cautioned against too much luxury housing on the water.

“If all the housing is for wealthy out-of-towners, the open space will be perceived as privatized,” he said.

Jonathan Feinberg, also of the New Lynn Coalition, said the waterfront needs to be a place for families and should include picnic tables, green space, and venues for social events.

Ward 1 City Councilor Wayne Lozzi said while his district is farthest from the ocean, he still remembers a time as a boy when he saw drive-in movies on the Lynnway.  He said he was thrilled to hear the suggestions of what can be done to activate the waterfront.

“It’s awesome where we’re headed and we still have a long way to go,” he said.

Ward 6 City Councilor Peter Capano, whose district includes the Lynnway, said while these ideas are years away, he had a suggestion to get something started this summer. He said the vacant Lynn ferry parcel and its parking lot be could be used now and until the ferry returns.

“We don’t have to wait,” he said. “We can do a drive-in movie theater right there, right now on city-owned land.”

State Sen. Thomas McGee, (D-Lynn) and candidate for mayor, said while he was encouraged by the crowd, everyone should reach out and invite others to the next meeting

“The more input the better,” he said. “Let’s make sure we reach out to other community groups and have a larger crowd next time.”


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.