One of the arguments by the anti-historic preservation advocates is that prosperous towns were already prosperous when the LHD was instituted.
This is based more on ‘fooling people’ who don’t know any better than a valid argument.
There are plenty of photographs and well-documented histories showing the urban blight in towns like Charleston, Savannah, Portsmouth and Portland. Each of these communities are presently affluent, pricy and prosperous. Any visitor is going to assume they were ALWAYS this way. And this is where the phony argument gains legs.
Just the other day, I met a very handsome-looking, disciplined man who just ‘smelled’ of success. He spoke well, and the wisdom coming out of his mouth and his professionalism made me think he was always this way.
He was formerly a drug-addict and drug dealer who’s life was in shambles. He went to the lowest of the low until he gave himself over to God and accepted Christ as his Lord. In religious terms, he ‘ repented’ which means he turned a 180 and began to live a new life.
Outwardly, a quick conversation and you’d think he was always living this new life.
The same with Newburyport. Visitors come here and fall in love and think that all this beautiful architecture and lovely historic neighborhoods with our high quality of life has always been this way.
Our ‘repentance’ occurred in 1971 when HUD imposed historic preservation restrictions on the downtown and the ripple affect of widening economic benefit began to take affect.
Are we going to do the proverbial ‘swine that returneth to his vomit’? Or are we going to keep doing the formula that made Newburyport a success?