There is an underlying economic benefit that is derived from historic preservation. We should strive to preserve the past and honor the architectural culture of our past and we should do it to improve the aesthetic and historic look of the City.
But in our culture and economy, it’s, “Show me the money”.
And if there is anything that so identifies us is our brick sidewalks. When people think of Newburyport, they think: brick and granite and the trees that line along our streets.
Of course, I would love to have all the sidewalks within the Newburyport Historic District made of brick, lined with granite and ADA-compliant and consistent throughout. But at this time, we simply don’t have the money so it makes common sense to focus bricking at the most advantageous stretches in our City.
When people first drive toward our downtown, they expect some consistency in our presentation as an historic seaport. But marring that are stretches in which crude blacktop disrupts the entire message that we as a City are trying to project.
And lets face it, George has had it. With a look of worn disgust, he has had to face this disgrace 24/7. There he is looking directly at it at all times in the City where he proclaimed High Street as one of the most beautiful ways in America.
Visitors gasp at the beauty of Bartlett Mall and the majesty of the Bullfinch courthouse. The Old Hill Cemetery, the restored old jail, Rufus Sargent’s Kelley School, St. Paul’s Church, the Immaculate Conception’s Rectory, the Federal mansions, the historic brick sidewalks and then….
I don;t understand why someone from the Chamber, or a local who loves his city couldn’t at least point out the obvious. Have visitors said nothing of this ghastly spectacle?
In this tight time, if there was anyplace so out in the open that could help reinforce our historic standing, it is the removal of this blacktop morass and replacing it with historic brick sidewalk that provides a consistent message to our visitors and enhances the beauty of the Mall area.
The dollars spent will be few compared to the benefit of the entire neighborhood.
It is time to stop waiting for private property abutters to pay for the historic sidewalks when the City owns it in the first place. This practice has been mutually beneficial as it enhances property values and fixes dilapidated sidewalks but it violates one of the tenets of ADA-compliant pathways: consistency. The result is patchworks of stretches that make walking our sidewalks treacherous all over the city.
I highly recommend to the DPS to make this small stretch a priority in redoing it in historic brick.
At least let’s do it for George’s sake!