This is the last time I will ever compliment the Daily News. Apparently, the last couple of weeks of informing the community by providing local news caused them to take heat from the ancient guard for doing the right thing – so today they decided to reinforce the “old ways” by accentuating the old, tired way with three articles.
Talk about not representing the majority of Newburyporters. They have decided to promote the old ways of doing things and worst of all, celebrating the destruction of our historic homes by “flippers” as if this was a good thing for our city.
People are attracted to Newburyport because of our historic neighborhoods that consist of historical homes. The first thing a flipper does is rip out all that interior and many times exterior history and replace it with new, planned-obsoleting materials – turning the charm and historical architecture into some modern house (that will need to be ripped out later as it quickly wears out.) People come to experience our history and the beauty of our neighborhoods and they are handed the same house they’d live in if it was in suburbia or in the hundreds of faceless modern structures in a hundred different towns and cities. They are being defrauded, exploited by developers who are here to make a quick profit and move on to the next house to gut.
Worse still, these flippers aren’t even from Newburyport. Why aren’t they gutting and destroying historical homes in their own community? Why are they here!?! I’ll tell you why! Because the Newburyport Historic District is unique and only represents the over-one hundred year old structures that represent 8.3% of pre-existing buildings in America. The value of the buildings in our city are in great demand. And they know that potential home buyers aren’t versed in architecture or in what to look for; they just know that Newburyport is such a beautiful and unique city and they want to live there. So the developers give them a cheap substitute that looks “state-of-the-art”. And apparently they are getting good at “flipping” and destroying. Even now, even though the neighbors on Cherry Street are vehemently against what they are doing; they are proceeding to demolish a house. The ZBA voted to approve the demolishing and gutting. The city is all for it as they see an over-priced replacement they can suck tax money from to pay for schools. Who loses out? The city as our precious historical asset is destroyed, the neighbors find their property taxes going up again as over-priced renovations replace the humble historical homes on the street and the long term damage as another streetscape is damaged.
So what does the paper do? They celebrate their actions!
Then they honor a bunch of old fogies who want to support a failed NRA plan that is based on an old-fashioned view of Newburyport. Just take a look at this assemblage who are still living in the past. They do not represent those who understand the new Newburyport. We are not consisting of old mill workers, poor fishermen and townies. This is no longer a town full of factories and slowly dying industries. No longer a waterfront full of construction debris, housing drunks and the homeless. This is a town that is now firmly affluent based on shining marinas, a vibrant downtown and beautifully-maintained historic neighborhoods. Our parks and rail trails are beautiful and peopled with appreciative visitors. Newburyport Forward? Where do these old guys plan to take us? What tired ideas are they planning to base their actions upon?
Then see on this same page what is being said about the hotel and parking garage. Byron Matthews is still looking for Federal handouts as if we’re going to get the kind of help that a city like Lawrence or Lynn will get. Then Jack Bradshaw, the hatchet man for Byron is still looking for some “leadership” and “working together”. With whom? It is clear that the citizens of Newburyport are not being consulted. He’s talking about the old “inner group” that used to control things in the city. That was back when the NRA wanted to demolish the downtown and N.A.I.D. claimed the industrial park was the future savior of the city. (barely brings in 4% of tax revenues for the city and most employees live outside Newburyport!)
So the paper decides to celebrate the “dark siders” vision – destroy our historic neighborhoods, make our city pricey and unlivable, pursue a vision of an elite group profiting off ever more commercial properties in place of a central park and, of course, keep hanging their hats on a future hope of a garage and hotel.
What next? Bring in some more factories? Replace our historic buildings with bigger and better modern replacements? Raise our property values so high that only the well-to-do can live here?
Increasingly, the Daily News is becoming more and more irrelevant to the city as something as important to the community as the Exchange Club’s Field of Flags is relegated to page 6.
A paper that has been completely silent as one home after another has been demolished or gutted beyond recognition!
PS. The Mayor is making a big mistake associating with these dinosaurs. Their ‘vision’ is increasingly at odds with the majority of Newburyporters’ reality. My small suggestion is to avoid being in the same room with these guys. Don’t be blinded by the fact they have lots of money – money does not translate into political power and Newburyport’s past history is a prime example.