Sometimes familiarity can go beyond breeding contempt – it can convert the special into the common, reducing value to the point treasure becomes a nuisance. It can go so far as turning treasure into trash.
There are so many Townies and long term residents who know what they have but they are outnumbered by many who treat our historic district as an inconvenience that needs to be discarded. The very fact that a small vocal minority want to take away historic house protections is testimony to this fact.
When Newburyport was in financial distress and I might add not too long ago, living in an old house in which you were too poor to fix up and you were too poor to upgrade into 20th century conveniences was painful. Sadly, the ‘old’ was tightly linked to ‘poverty’.
That mindset was hard to break. Thankfully, we have a great host of newcomers who are continually buying into our historic district. Most want to do the right thing and preserve the very thing that drew them. They just need guidance. (I know historic preservationists including me that have made many a mistake trying to preserve the old buildings.)
This enthusiastic group still has the eyes of a visitor who can ‘feel’ the history and ‘see’ the beauty and specialness of our City. Our real estate businesses here in town make a very good living off these newcomers. And in return, they patiently, with some difficulty, slowly progressing and driven by a love for Newburyport; have done their best to put a polish on our historic district.
Now that we are an enviable place and a regional draw, it is time to protect all that effort.
With fresh eyes, new old house buyers know how important LHD’s are to preserving the city and protecting their assets. Here below are just some comments made by our new arrivals:
I am pleased to support the LHD for the historic area. We just recently moved into town and are pleased to find ourselves in a home in the proposed LHD district. This does not take away homeowner rights, it protects homeowners. -Daniel Bourdeau, Newburyport, Online Petition, 6 June, 2012
We recently bought our home on High Street and plan to restore its historic character and we fully support the LHD ordinance. Its the main reason my husband and I moved up to Newburyport. Others should know that the ordinance proposed is less intrusive than most, take a look at Acton, MA’s ordinances, you can’t even look at your house without LHD approval. –Renee Fitsik, Newburyport, Online Petition, 6 June, 2012
I strongly support the LHD to protect our rights as homeowners. We bought our home specifically because of the consistency of its historic neighborhood. Significant alteration or demolition of historic properties in Newburyport would diminish our experience of living here. Over time, if the historic context is allowed to erode, property values in Newburyport will be far less than they could be. -Anika Savage, Newburyport, Online Petition, 29 January, 2012
I moved to Newburyport in large part because of the historic nature of the town and my belief that this is a town that values historic preservation and old buildings. That the city does not yet have a strong historic district commission with a sizable historic district came as quite a surprise. I fully support the creation of this Local Historic District. -Eric Holthausen, Newburyport Resident, Online Petition, 20 Feb, 2012
They understand that if we don’t protect these homes there will no longer be potential home buyers who understand the value of these buildings and who are willing to buy these homes. A major factor in property values is the ‘desirability’ of the home. No buyers cause home prices to go down in order to desperately draw in customers.
People move to Newburyport for the historic beauty of the place. It is important to keep it. -Terry Blanchard, Online Petition, 13 July, 2010
We need to draw in as many as we can who come with ‘fresh eyes’.