To the editor:
Beverly has recently leased the former McDonald’s waterfront property without obtaining the prerequisite approval of the Legislature. The property was purchased utilizing a State Conservation Services grant, which requires the property to be utilized as a recreational, open-space park in perpetuity. If the property is leased, the Legislature’s approval of the lease would be conditioned upon the city providing, at its cost, replacement property of equal value and utility.
There can be no net loss of Article 97 recreational open space parkland resulting from a lease. The city should not be allowed to ignore the grant’s legal obligations. We need an open-space park as required by the grant with multiple services available for use by the many waterfront recreational visitors — not a large restaurant used only by a few.
Currently required uses of the subject city property:
Open space park land.
Passive recreational activities.
Operation of a small snack bar in existing McDonald’s building.
Leasing facilities to waterfront recreational vendors to provide public recreational activities.
The unauthorized lease must be terminated. The property should then be developed to provide amenities normally provided in public parks in accordance with the requirements of the grant. The park should include landscaping, benches, a picnic gazebo, vehicle parking for use by those utilizing the park, and other features that would encourage usage of the scenic waterfront by the general public. The city should obtain another grant to develop the property.