Enough is Enough!
It is bad enough when a badly built structure is foisted on us. Decade after decade, helpless onlookers have to stare at the eye-sore. One of these is the Sullivan building. This structure alone breaks the beauty of Newburyport’s skyline and nothing can be done with it. Tearing it down and replacing the housing with something more complimentary with the city would take millions and it would be doubtful that any investor could recoup or justify the expense. And yet, there it is, year-out and year-end sticking out like a sore-thumb.
It is these bad structures that the volunteer boards of historical, planning and zoning constantly struggle to avoid. But apparently the forces of bad taste have found unique and interesting ways to foist their visual obscenities. We now have a truck with a backlight that drives and parks around the city. The truck is ugly, the signs are ugly but apparently several businesses also lacking taste have decided to advertise on the ugly truck. This is suppose to generate business. Or the fake windmill that advertises Tender Crop? Nice way to get around the billboard ban on state highways. Nice to see it saying how everyone feels about the pristine common pasture.
Now the former planning director and the Mayor have foisted on the very gateway of the city a cell tower. The place where tourists first cross into our town, where the “Welcome to Newburyport” sign is located, where the Essex National Heritage sign is located at the top of the Little River Nature Trail.
Why don’t we put an eye-sore right there, they said. A cell tower that really tells a story of how Newburyporter’s feel about Newburyport. The irony is that the cell tower could easily have been put on the other side of the highway and beyond the view of the tourists. Average citizens just shake their heads in amazement and exclaim, “Who came up with this idea?”
And of course, the Mayor wants to top it off by putting a structure on top of Mount Lavender and so convinced in the idea he strived to make a “deal” with the ultimate deal breaker, New Venture.
And of course, now we have the ultimate, a huge wind-powered generator that disrupts yet again our beautiful skyline. Oh, sure, the average visitor inside Newburyport won’t notice it but all those boats that come to dock at our historic downtown bringing money into the city are going to be shaking their heads every time they float into our harbor, “Who came up with this idea?”
I guess history repeats itself. Remember Bossie Gillis? He was so infatuated with the new thing, the automobile, that he demolished his historic home, the famous landmark, the Wolfe Tavern and peppered stations from Route One to State Street. It has taken years for the city to get rid of these eye-sores that don’t fit with the theme of our historic downtown and of course, how can we ever replace the historic landmark, Wolfe’s Tavern?
How many aesthetic sacrifices must we take? Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell have struggled to restore aesthetics into their cities desperately trying to attract back business. In Newburyport, we desperately spread plastic A-frame signs in our contempt of it!
It is time for us to say enough and to save Newburyport’s beauty that has made us a magnet for the region.