You’ve probably heard the talk about town, “We’ve never needed an LHD because it has been the influx of concerned citizens that has made us the beautiful city that we are today.”
This is a bold face deception – and sadly some of our city councilors are actually convincing themselves that the whole local historic district idea is a loser.
First, it is a known fact, as Savannah was mentioned in the Daily News, that local historic districts literally lift an entire city. Once one has been instituted, it begins to lift the local economy. The Federal Government, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and dozens of other states have well-documented the ripple affect of affluence that spreads from an LHD. In fact, if a city councilor who lives near an area that is going to be converted to this status; has to, by state ethics law, recuse from taking a vote on approving an LHD because her/his property will get a boost. Therefore a positive vote would be an act of vested interest.
Second, guess what, we’ve had a ‘local historic district’ from the early 1970’s. (1971 to be exact) This local historic district had absolute control over the exterior of our Downtown that was controlled by the NRA. The only difference was this was not under the jurisdiction of M.G.L. 40C – it was instituted by HUD.
This 35 year period resulted in our downtown being strictly controlled (Exterior only of course – just like a local historic district) and the ripple effect has produced our entire National Register Historic District to be rejuvenated and now affluent.
In a foolish move (They could have renewed it), the NRA, by failing to take action, ceased having that control on July 21, 2005.
Now the Downtown except for signage is now adrift. (And at the mercy of none other than Newburyport Development/Karp)
IT WAS THIS LHD THAT CAUSED NEWBURYPORT TO BE THE REGIONAL ENVY OF NEW ENGLAND.
But now we have foolish people who actually believe that homeowners and developers are going to be ‘nice’ to our treasured assets and not flip them, not gut them, not strip them, not demolish them.
Instead of Newburyport, we’ll be called Libertarian-port.
But after turning their backs on 35 years of success, they might as well change the name to Loser-port for that is all we’ll be.