I know the pressure is building on the city councilors on making a decision on the local historic district ordinance. Many feel as the war of signs and words mounts they would just like to see the decision go away – maybe let it die in committee.
I know it’s tough to do the right thing when you have a minority pressuring for a quick decision. Take that pressure away and it’s logical for us to reinforce our reputation as a city rejuvenated* by historic preservation.
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to add some more stress. The developers all across New England are watching very closely over what choice the city councilors make.
It is now known that Newburyport only has a one-year demo delay and control over signage in the Downtown…and that’s it.
Unfortunately, the highly-visible debate over the LHD has now shown profit-craving developers that we’re plum for the taking. Developers can do anything they want – alter, demo, gut, etc. and make a huge profit. As property values have plummeted in the region, Newburyport’s has stayed comfortably stable. As Chris Skelly of Mass Historic who deals with towns and cities across the state; he hears every week, “We want to have preservation restrictions just like Newburyport!” And he has to every week remind them it just isn’t so.
If the city councilors let it die in committee, a great numbers of developers will be coming to Newburyport for a feeding frenzy.
If the city councilors do not give the 2/3rd’s majority vote and turn down the LHD, the developers will be coming to Newburyport for a feeding frenzy.
There comes a time in a leader’s life, where, regardless of the political heat; you have to do the right thing. Fortunately in America, history is filled with great men who have made the right choice and we all benefit in living in this great country.
There is a lot of unreasonable people fighting to defeat the LHD. We know they are capable of incivility, deception, lying, misinforming and a few are just plain hateful and nasty. All of this fire and smoke has brought a growing circle of vultures just overhead hoping to feast on the dying gasps of a used-to-be prosperous historic seaport.
They are watching.
-Patricia Critchlow, Newburyport, Online Petition, 18 July, 2010
* This is Anderson Windows new favorite word.