Design firm reaches out for HarborWalk ideas

Design firm reaches out for HarborWalk ideas

The city has chosen a designers and engineering team for its planned HarborWalk. Now, those designers want to hear how residents think the waterfront walkway should take shape.

Cambridge 7 Associates, the lead designer for the $500,000 project, is holding a day for community input on Tuesday, with plans for what they and city officials are calling “collaboration sessions” at the Maritime Heritage Center on Harbor Loop.

Members of the public are invited to bring stories, photographs and insights about Gloucester and the working waterfront.

Opening the day from 8 to 10:30 a.m. is a session listed as “A Working Walk: Today’s Waterfront Environment,” with three 90-minute midday sessions will be devoted to history, art and people.

Student ideas will be taken up for an hour beginning at 4:45 p.m., with an hour-long wrap-up session set for 6 p.m.

Sponsors say photographs or written information may also be sent to the city’s community development office.

The Harbor Walk is planned to extend from the Commercial Street side of St. Peter’s Square to Harbor Loop.

Last month, a field of 10 applicants was identified for a design services contract worth an estimated $100,000. Just before year’s end, the contract was awarded to Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., in collaboration with Stoss Landscape Urbanism and Bourne Consulting Engineers.

The city now has $400,000 for construction from a grant announced by the state’s Seaport Advisory Council. The project schedule calls for a design to be due in late spring.

Some of the Harbor Walk already exists, stretching in part through St. Peter’s Square, across the wharf at the city’s newly-acquired I-4, C-2 property off Rogers Street, past the Fitz Henry Lane House, and then through Solomon Jacobs Park on the waterfront side of Harbor Loop.

A city request for proposals also anticipates extending the walk down the border between St. Peter’s Square and Intershell Seafood in the Fort neighborhood, then from the front of Fisherman’s Wharf through Gus Foote Park and past the Gloucester House restaurant.

It would meet up with the existing walkway along the I-4, C-2 waterfront, then carry past the Building Center to connect with the existing section at Jacobs Park.

As part of the anticipated pedestrian thoroughfare, the I-4, C-2 property itself is already the subject of 21 design proposals.

The formal development ideas for that long-dormant piece of waterfront land at 65 Rogers St. were put on display for public inspection in December.

Community development officials have expressed hope that a new Harbor Walk will provide improved access to recreational and cultural opportunities such as the Fitz Henry Lane House, Maritime Heritage Center, harbor businesses and restaurants, and also allow greater public access to the water.

They also envision educational opportunities for residents and visitors to learn about the harbor’s history and the city’s maritime heritage, and links connecting the working harbor and downtown.

“Strong design, consistent use of materials, interpretive features and public art will help create a distinctive urban landmark for the city and provide an inviting experience for visitors, residents and employees of surrounding businesses,” the Community Development Department’s statement says.

By Francis X. Quinn Staff Writer The Gloucester Daily Times

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