If you want to know who the Newburyport Daily News is in bed with just watch how they are covering the demolition of our historic houses. That’s right.
You see, as the rest of the city is oblivious; the banks and the developers continue to exploit the Newburyport Historic District. They’ve been doing it for so long and they figure they are covered by spreading a blizzard of charitable gifts to the community. But in the end, the destruction of our historic neighborhoods will begin to impact their bottom line also. Potential buyers are attracted to our city because of our historic setting. Since there is no protection in place, it will only be a matter of time that we, as a city, lose our distinctiveness and with it will come plummeting property values and “under water” mortgages will be a common occurrence.
The contributors of this destruction also think they have things covered by putting in faux historic properties but since these structures have price tags that stagger the mind, it won’t be long that our city will begin to have an exodus of locals who simply can’t afford the tremendous jack up of prices and the accompanying average high property taxes. Newburyport will suffer what other “resort” communities have endured – the transformation from a dynamic healthy city to a place where only the wealthy will be able to live here. And there is just so many wealthy to draw from who just as well could live in even nicer areas.
The process will take five to even ten years but we will have lost our golden moment. Newburyport will cease to be a success story and return to the boom and bust cycles of the past.
This November could decide if our fate is sealed or not. It all depends on the future makeup of councilors and what type of mayor the voters decide upon. Will we have a mayor who gleefully encourages and even fuels the destruction of our downtown and historic district? Who curses any sort of planning or protection? Will we have councilors who actually wish to protect our quality of life or will they be intimidated by the banks, developers and profiteers?
It will be up to the citizens of Newburyport what kind of future we will have.
But I can not ignore it. And I hope that we have a rising group of citizens who will not be silent over the great danger that lies before us.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.