Due to an unhappy circumstance, Newburyport was stuck with these large ‘turrets’ for stairways and a concrete-sided ramp that hid the beautiful historic structures behind them. Just when the NRA was focusing on doing Inn Street, along came a nationwide steel strike. When the Sasaki Group of Watertown originally designed the access ways, they were to be made of light steel ramps and small stairways. So instead, for the last 40 years, we’ve been stuck looking at these brick turrets that have basically been counter-intuitive to an historic restoration of our Downtown.
Therefore, I was overjoyed when I saw the workmen sweating away as they destroyed, dug and rebuilt those hideous structures. The first thing I noticed was how exposed the shops were that had been hidden. Now, they peered out and were interesting and inviting. I thought to myself, “This is going to be a big boost for business!”
But then I looked up and was knocked over by how ghastly the concrete walkways were. When Andy Port described in the last two meetings about the city’s plans, there was no mention of dealing with these concrete walkway ‘sides’. I mean, and you will probably agree with me next time you visit Inn Street – they just stick out and are extra ugly. I can just see them being there all this year and into the next – and kicking myself for not noticing this faux pas and bringing this to the attention of others who were in charge of the project.
So, in case you have missed reading it, the Planning Director has indicated in a Daily News article, that the concrete sides will be replaced by steel railing.
What a relief! We will soon actually see the entrance to the Phoenix Room and to other businesses and most important, the beautiful historic architecture that has made our City worth visiting.