I’m a bottom line kind of guy. It’s easy to get confused especially on the arguments pro and con on the local historic district ordinance. But when analyzing both sides; we end up with two different viewpoints.
One side believes that Newburyport is the lovely place that it is because it has always been a lovely place. The lovely waterfront complete with the boardwalk and surrounded by funky little shops and brick sidewalks. All this complemented with comforting coffee shops and great restaurants. Going up and down the streets of the historic part of the City, the eyes are greeted with block after block of renovated and/or restored homes. What you see is what you get – an attractive place with a high quality of life for locals and visitors.
The other side believe that Newburyport is a lovely place also and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate this great port city. But they believe that it all came about due to historic preservation. According to them, the city was poor, the downtown a wreck and the waterfront a weed-choked and unpleasant place to hang. Dilapidated homes were seen up and down the streets complete with some rough neighborhoods – and the maintenance was slipshod since no one had any money. This group believes that the restoration of the downtown triggered a renaissance and turned us from an eyesore to thee place to live.
So what can the facts and history reveal to us to resolve this dispute?
The answer has already been revealed in the award-winning Port in Progress book. I may quibble on what was left out, but it does reveal in documentation and in pictures, the sorry condition of Newburyport. I also invite people to see the video, Newburyport: A Measure of Change. If eye-witnesses, pictures and the many Daily News articles don’t convince you; then take the time to see what the City used to look like.
After watching, you can see why historic preservation through zoning should be embraced for our future.