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The Salem Harbor Plan

The Salem Harbor

The harbor plan outlines a comprehensive strategy for protecting and enhancing the economic, environmental, historical, and cultural resources related to Salem Harbor. The development has been guided by a mission to:

Reclaim Salem’s identity as a vibrant seaport, which makes use of its waterfront for a variety of commercial and recreational waterside activities, and has high quality landside facilities necessary to support these activities at an environmentally beneficial and economically sustainable level. Such waterside activities and landside facilities should preserve the City’s distinguishing historic character and ultimately enhance the quality of life in the City for residents, visitors and businesses.

The Salem Harbor Plan seeks:

  • An economically sustainable outcome of future public investment.
  • High standards of environmental quality so that the results are beneficial to the landside and waterside resources of Salem Harbor.
  • Improvements that preserve the distinguishing historic character of Salem.
  • To enhance the quality of the life and the physical environment for residents, visitors and businesses.
  • New connections to the waterfront.
  • Creating new public open spaces.

Accomplishing this vision will require a concerted effort by the public and private sectors, however, by keeping the underlying goals clearly in focus, every project and new initiative can contribute to a vital, coherent and delightful waterfront and harbor for Salem.

Salem Harbor Plan Recommendations

  • Dredging will be required to maintain existing uses and support expanded maritime activities.
  • A comprehensive approach to physical and visual access to the waterfront – The Salem Harbor Walk and several identified view corridors.
  • Activate dormant area of Salem Harbor Watersheet.
  • Creation of a working waterfront – Salem Wharf.
  • Specific recommendations for:
    1. South Commercial Waterfront
    2. The Tourist Historic Harbor
    3. North Commercial Waterfront
    4. The Industrial Port
    5. The Community Waterfront

The Salem Harbor Plan is a multi-faceted action agenda. Its pages list hundreds of individual tasks, which will integrate with and build upon each other to revitalize one of the city’s key assets. Most of the early responsibilities for implementing the plan rest with existing public agencies and organizations. Ultimately, the private sector will make important contributions to the revitalization of the waterfront.

One component of the Salem Harbor Plan is:

The Salem Ferry

The Salem Ferry

After months of hard work and deliberations, The Salem Ferry’s maiden voyage took place on June 22, 2006. It was launched from Central Wharf in Boston next to the New England Aquarium and traveled to the Blaney Street dock in Salem. Representative John Keenan and Senator Frederick Berry joined Mayor Kimberley Driscoll of Salem, Russ Vickers, Chairman Emeritus of the Salem Partnership, Joseph Correnti, Chairman of the Partnership, and other dignitaries on the maiden trip.

Salem Ferry Update

The “Nathaniel Bowditch”, the official name of the Salem Ferry, is in its seventh successful year of operation with a new operator, Boston Harbor Cruises. The ferry now runs from early June until the end of October. The ferry vessel, a high-speed catamaran, is able to make the trip between Salem and Boston in less than an hour. The Salem Ferry docks at Long Wharf North just steps away from the New England Aquarium, Faneuil Hall, the North End, City Hall Plaza and the Freedom Trail. In Salem, the Blaney Street dock is just four minutes from the House of Seven Gables, seven minutes from the National Maritime site and 15 minutes from the NPS Visitor’s Center and the Peabody Essex Museum. The ferry marries the history and culture of both great cities. Please go to www.salemferry.com for the new schedule and new ticket prices.

Redevelopement of Blaney Street

The new terminal building

The Salem Ferry operates out of the dock on Blaney Street. The City of Salem has been renting the land on Blaney Street from Dominion/Salem Harbor Station since the ferry began operation in 2006. In 2010, the city purchased the land and dock on Blaney Street from Dominion/Salem Harbor Station. This was a key component for the long term plan to make this site a state-of-the-art port facility. Also, in 2010, the city completed the design development phase and conducted a market analysis including a management and operations plan. The engineering and permitting phase was also completed.

In the summer of 2011, the first phase was completed at a cost of $1.4 M. Work included installation of new waterline, stormwater system and electrical conduit, construction of a seawall, final grading, base pavement, striping and a larger, interim building with ADA restrooms, ticketing and offices.

The new parking lotThe second phase was completed in the spring of 2013. This work includes 200 ft. of dock, installation of floating docks & accessible gangways, and partial dredging.

The City of Salem and the Partnership are working with the new owners of the Salem Power Plant, Footprint Power. Plans for the spring of 2014 include the demolition of the existing plant and the beginnings of a new, smaller natural gas plant. The existing plant will be taken down in May 2014, and the anticipated completion of this project is 2016. Currently, Footprint Power is going through permit processes on state and local levels, and Mayor Driscoll has formed a stakeholders committee that is putting together a Community Benefits Agreement.

The new owners of Footprint Power have also agreed in principal to allow use of their docking facilities for cruise ships. It is anticipated that this will happen in 2014.

This is a $20 M project. The port facility will include a permanent terminal building, a harbor walk, and dock facilities not only for the Salem Ferry but also for cruise ships, and commercial and pleasure boats. The goal is to return the waterfront to an economic resource and provide a pleasant venue on Salem Harbor for visitors and residents alike.

The new seawall