According to Frank Narr, the former executive director of Sailwind Park, Inc., and someone who has been directly involved in a twenty-five-year effort to transform Cambridge’s waterfront into a world-class community asset, the fate of the long-delayed transformation changed dramatically in 2018.
That was the year when UM Shore Regional Health, the largest landowner on the waterfront, made the somewhat radical decision to move out of its historic base at Dorchester General Hospital and move its health services along Route 50. According to Narr, that future transition was a game-changer for the project and Cambridge since it will allow site control of the 35 acres without the constraints of planning around an active hospital, including the need for FAA-approved flight paths for medical helicopters.
For Narr and dozens of other stakeholders, that decision opened up a world of possibilities that were impossible to imagine when the project was first envisioned twenty-five years ago. And for Frank, the former Arthur Andersen senior executive who had moved to Cambridge in the early 1990s with his wife, a local physician, it could not have come a day too soon.
While these stakeholders, named the Committee of 100, had experienced remarkable success during this time with the successful launch of the skipjack Nathan, the Choptank Lighthouse, and eventually the major investment of a Hyatt Resort Hotel, the holy grail then, as it is now, was huge opportunity to use smart development of the underdeveloped and sometimes blighted along the town’s historic waterfront.
In the first of a two-part series to help prepare the greater Cambridge community for a year of intense conversations about the use of the land and its impact on the city, the Spy asks Frank to provide an overview of the unique twists and turns related to the waterfront project.
This video is approximately minutes in length. The Spy’s partner, WHCP Community Radio, will hosting a community Conversation about the Waterfront Project this Wednesday (February 10th) on air at at 101.5 FM, on Facebook here or YouTube here.