We have visitors from all over the country who come here specifically to experience the history of our region and its natural beauty. Unfortunately, it also is a very tough place to live and if not the most expensive area of the Nation, it is really up there. On top of all that, comes the tough winters.
In the hard scrabble, it is often far too easy to forget the importance of our beautiful area and try to seek short-term solutions. One of them is a perpetual desire to build houses and to perpetuate suburban sprawl. On one hand, the developer is dangling a false carrot (that’s really made of poison) that if one more development is thrown in and more new construction is made; this will translate into new tax income and more ‘jobs’. What they won’t tell you is for every new house, an equivalent cost of three to four houses will have to be spent by the taxpayers to build the infrastructure to support that new building. Newbury’s been chewing on that carrot for years and they’re starting to feel the poison in their veins.
What we should be focusing is maintaining our infrastructure and our buildings that we have now. Such activities are far more beneficial for local craftsmen than some big box developer shipping in his team and transporting large amounts of building materials from far away.
In the end, what really suffers is open space. To get a true understanding of its value; just look at Joppa Flats – one of the poorest sections of Newburyport, the old haunt of fisherman and farmers; but the view along the harbor is spectacular – developers desperately want to get a piece of all that ‘action’ by building McMansions, Mega-beach houses and tall structures with panoramic views. Look at Plum Island; a barrier island built on sand – but million dollar houses are going up to catch the ‘view’.
It isn’t long before it’s nearly impossible to see the ocean because all the open space is gone. So true, the historic views along Route 1A, now the feeding grounds of developers building McMansions obstructing and now blocking the views that tourists travel hundreds of miles to see. And those huge buildings destroy the emotional impact of the open spaces that are left.
The very thing that makes our historic cities and open spaces desirable is now causing them to be endangered.
That is why the Save the Lower Green effort was so important. If the very thing that brings us visitors is destroyed, not just our national heritage is gone but our cash cow too!
This field wasn’t much to look at, but it is priceless as it works as the setback for the Lower Green, where the first settlers to America that came to start the Newberry Plantations came to live and carve out our Nation. Essex County Greenbelt normally preserves open space for the importance of watersheds, wetlands and wildlife.
Here it was to preserve our National Heritage.
I have enclosed some pictures of the recent celebration: