Lynn waterfront plan $1 million under budget

May 25, 2011
By Robin Kaminski/The Daily Item

The pieces of the Waterfront Master Plan are beginning to come together and almost $1 million under budget to boot.

"We're ready to move," said James Cowdell, executive director of the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation. "This is a face-changer (for the city)."

Cowdell updated the Waterfront & Economic Oversight Committee of the City Council on Tuesday, saying the project, originally anticipated to cost $5,957,000, ended up costing $5,054,666. The city bonded $4 million, in which $3 million was put in long-term bonds and $1 million into a short-term bond.

"National Grid paid $800,000 to EDIC, which we turned over to the city," Cowdell said. "The city then used those funds and other funds to pay off the $1 million short-term bond. So, the good news is that instead of $4 million, the city has only $3 million in bond debt, a result of the project coming in under budget."

To date, Cowdell said there are several parties interested in communicating with Boston concessionaire Joseph O'Donnell and Lynn contractor and businessman Patrick McGrath regarding the purchase of their sites on the Lynnway. O'Donnell has since hired Sasaki Associates, a planning and urban development company in order to resolve a wetland issue on the site.

"There is a foreign investment group that is interested in O'Donnell's property," Cowdell said. "But, prior to the power lines being moved, there was zero interest in either property and now there is a lot of interest, even with the economy."

Cowdell said his department is also in talks with National Grid, with 70 percent, the largest landowner along the waterfront. National Grid has agreed to pay for environmental testing of their land with the hope of selling it to the city in the near future.

Progress on another piece of the waterfront puzzle, the ferry, was also reviewed. Cowdell said on July 1 the EDIC will receive $1.3 million for phase 2 of the project, which will include total replacement of the bulkhead and dredging.

Cowdell said his department has been meeting with Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Sen. Thomas McGee and Rep. Steven Walsh for the final funding, which he said he hopes to receive in July 2012.

"We're hoping, knock on wood, that the ferry will be ready for 2013," Cowdell said.

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