Frankly this Episode hasn’t been written yet.
We are at a crossroads between two alternate futures.
To see either today is easy to do. We can visit Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Rockport and see what is done when a city protects its historic assets and is determined to do serious heritage tourism, or we can go to Gloucester and Plymouth and Marblehead and see what happens when you let developers run rampant.
One future would have us take heritage tourism seriously. We would be designated a National Landmark, and tourist organizations would begin to tag us for visits. The National Park Service would open a visitors center and we would be open to all kinds of federal and state grants. Our protected local historic district would make our property values rock solid and rising at stable rates. The longer in time that our historical homes are kept whole (at least externally); they become rarer and more valuable.
The second future would make sure we amble along as we are now. Without any protections, outside developers will begin to buy up properties in the city, gut them, flip them for a high price to gullible new arrivals who think they are buying an historical home only to find its all cheap modern stuff that has built in obsolescence. As more and more developers come in and build inappropriately, streetscapes will be affected and the downtown will start to lose its historic infrastructure. People, finding Newburyport no longer appealing will begin to move away, causing a lowering of expectations in the city for real estate prices. Tourism will begin to drop off and the shops downtown will start to have short shelf lives. Once a tipping point occurs, we will begin to fall into the bad financial instability that towns like Plymouth are suffering today as tax rolls diminish.
Developers and homeowners will start to look elsewhere for a better place to invest.
The latter will come to pass in as early as ten years.
Will we allow this to happen or will we choose the path to a brighter future!?!