There will be many sectors of our city who will want to add something to the Master Plan.
More power to them but there are a few essentials that need to be included:
One, a sidewalk maintenance plan. Yes, it was on the last Master Plan but instead of creating one and stuffing it in a file cabinet and forgetting about it; it would be nice to actually access it when the funds become available. There has never been any evidence that one has ever existed to be stuffed in a file cabinet. We have the beginnings of some form of financing; now we need a plan to guide the application of such funds.
I will be expanding my discussion on this subject.
Two, is the goal of achieving the honor of being a National Landmark. Lowell and Salem have done them and the benefits to these two cities have been abundantly clear. The designation doesn’t protect the city but it does pave the way for Federal grants and the active presence of the National Park Service. It would elevate our heritage tourism to a whole new level (Bring in more visitors) and give us national recognition. (More people would actually visit us if they knew we even existed.)
I will share more documentation on this subject later.
Thirdly, is an urban plan to underground the utility poles in the city and erect stand alone lights for the city. This is definitely an expensive and long-term goal but if the city starts to incorporate this as policy, then it opens the way for seeking state help. In this way, we can finally abandon a 19th-century antiquated technology and move the city into the 21st century and improve the sight lines. The absence of these ghastly poles has already been a boon for the downtown and as it slowly is implemented into the rest of the city, it will spread an economic benefit overall for the community.
I will show more documentation soon on this subject.
As for the old Master Plan, here are a few things that should be retained:
1. The stress for more aggressive preservation of our historic neighborhoods.
2. The continued promotion of our open spaces, watersheds and our farms.
3. Cluster development that maximizes affordable housing and open space and concentrate more development and urban planning around the traffic circle.
4. The continued push for design review in all areas of the city including Storey Avenue.
5. The goal of more local historic districts in the city.
Areas to abandon from the old Master Plan:
The desire to develop the upper little River Basin between the Rt 95 and Low Street area into an industrial park.
The desire to develop the Central Waterfront with commercial/mixed use buildings.
These are just a few things that need to be included or excluded from the new Master Plan.