I’m not here to cause trouble (this time) but I want to warn every non-governmental organization in town. The Mayor is seeking to suck dry the CPA funds and send the whole lot into the city’s control.
We saw in the political antics of last year that she’ll approach it in two ways: One, she’ll drown the CPC with project after project which if each was funded would leave no money left for NGO’s. Two, for those projects that she senses will have some push back; she’ll use political pressure and if necessary, mob rule.
Now, we can all get upset and jump on our soap boxes and wring our hands but that frankly is a lot of wasted energy. The better way to do it is to take the lead of the Old South and the Religious Society of Newburyport. There was a time that giving money to a church here in town would have caused the local government establishment heart failure. But the Old South broke through that political ceiling by indicating the benefit to the community. People come from all over the world to visit the crypt of George Whitefield. What a slap against our city to have them come to a shabby mess (seen the First Parish lately?) They demonstrated a community benefit.
What photograph taken hasn’t included the magnificent spire of the First Religious Society of Newburyport? It’s been even part of our Yankee Homecoming promotional literature. It’s structural integrity and aesthetic value is closely linked to Newburyport. But they did something even better. They created a top rate presentation that covered all the questions by the CPC. Even Geordie Vining from the city’s planning office could have learned a thing or two.
You can hand wring or you can take the examples of these two organizations and make sure your advocacy and presentation are top-notch. The organizations that touch in some way affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation and have a pressing need – start working now to make your February project the very best it can be.
The money is there – now fight for it!