Salem Port Authority nearing approvals

Board would have 5 members, including mayor

Salem News | By Dustin Luca
August 23, 2016

SALEM — By month’s end, the Salem Harbor Port Authority could finally be a reality.

The state Legislature is going through its final motions on House Bill 4479. The act would create a five-member Salem Harbor Port Authority to centralize oversight on port activities adjacent to the Footprint Power Plant and make decisions on the use of a sizable chunk of land around the plant that could see future development.

“We’re hoping it gets to the governor’s desk by the end of the month so it can get signed and we can start planning our harbor planning efforts and maximizing the commercial pier possibilities,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll, who would be a member of the authority should it be created.

The port authority will be in charge of a massive pier at the site that, for decades, was used for coal deliveries to the old Salem Harbor Station. Today, the pier supports cruise ships and other large vessels.

That oversight also covers about 5 acres of land around the pier, according to Driscoll.

“Then there are 45 acres directly abutting the power plant, an L-shaped parcel that’s available for redevelopment,” she said.

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