Land Cleared for North Shore Park (MA)

Manchester and Gloucester, MA, 10/12/2001: The residents of Magnolia in Gloucester and Manchester are one step closer to enjoying a new two-acre community park, with today’s demolition of the former Surf Restaurant. The demolition began this morning at 7:00 AM and will be completed early next week. The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit conservation organization, purchased the property last April and launched a fundraising campaign to convert the site into a public park, complete with places for kids to play, walking paths, benches, and grassy expanses for taking in ocean views. The property, which lies along Magnolia Avenue in Gloucester and Raymond Street in Manchester, offers scenic views of Kettle Cove and was previously the target of an intensive development proposal.

“We are excited to be starting the demolition phase of this project,” said TPL project manager Nellie Aikenhead. “Our goal this fall is to demolish the building and remove the debris, which should take approximately three weeks. That will leave the site in a stable condition over the winter, while we concentrate on raising the remaining funds needed for the project. In the spring, we will resume work on the ground, with the removal of the parking lot and the onset of park construction.”

Although the project’s estimated cost will be refined as bids for the park construction phase are submitted, it is currently expected to be between $2.2 and $2.4 million. This includes funding for planning, demolition, permitting, pavement removal, drainage improvements, landscaping, park amenities, and a modest maintenance endowment. To date, more than $1.8 million has been raised from private and public sources, and project supporters are hoping to receive an additional $250,000 grant from the state’s Urban Self-Help Program. If the grant is awarded, only a small funding gap-something between $100,000 and $300,000-will remain, with the exact amount uncertain until the total costs are finalized. Project partners include the Trust for Public Land, Gray Beach Neighborhood Association, Magnolia Neighborhood Association, Town of Manchester, and City of Gloucester.

The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide, including nearly 75,000 acres in New England. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, call TPL’s Boston office at (617) 367-6200 or visit