After looking at this huge list, I have chosen projects that come to $951,140. They won’t really be in the winner’s circle because they will not get what they really need. And of course, I’m not on the Community Preservation Committee, nor on the City Council and certainly am not the Mayor. After all the hard work, the applicants will in all likelihood be given just a fraction.
My biggest advice is to start accessing local businesses’ largess, regional and national grants; and yes, even some politicking on the state and federal level. 2008 has thankfully grown distant and the funding so desperately needed is quietly becoming available again. It just takes time and, in most of these grants, a lot harder hoops to jump over plus the added pressure of competing submissions from around the state and/or country.
Believe me, I totally empathize – I’ve had my hard knocks when it came to fundraising.
So, after saying all that; Let’s hear it for the winner’s circle! (Ra, Ra!)
Historic Tree Restoration, Phase II
John Bromfield’s will directed street trees to be installed across the city from Atkinson Park to Marlboro. Disease, ignorant homeowners, lazy city maintenance, out-of-town developers have done great damage. Worse, is the installation of inappropriate trees that rip up our sidewalks with shallow roots. For these reasons, most have to be replaced and the correct, deep-rooted ones put in their place if we ever hope to have good sidewalks. This should be continually supported every year.
Open Space Reserve Fund
10% of the money needs to be designated for open space needs and stashed away in a fund because the city only gets 120 days to decide if it wants to protect land that is previously zoned for agriculture or open. The money needs to be ready immediately.
Colby Farm Acquisition
The very purpose for the Open Space Reserve Fund. Our Open Space & Recreation Plan 2012-2022 demands this type of acquisition. An increase in recreational space and a prevention of impervious surfaces in a watershed/wetlands sensitive area.
Inn Street Fountain Restoration & Interpretive Signage
during the summer, this area is packed with children and tourists as well as locals. The public benefit is clear, and the restoration is a powerful enhancement of infrastructure as well as promoting Newburyport with informative signage.
Old South Church
A church asking for its interior to be restored would normally have the applicant kicked out onto the pavement with a stern warning; but there are only two international draws to Newburyport: the Lighthouse Restaurant and George Whitefield’s Church (and his tomb). People come to tour this building from all over the world due to the legacy of the Great Awakening and the birth of our nation; to improve tourism, this water-damaged Trump L’oeil interior needs to be restored.
Meeting House and Steeple
They had the nerve to come back for more money! Normally, the response would be the same as my last post concerning double-dibbing churches. But if there is any spire more aligned with Newburyport it is the First Religious Society’s. The loss of this structure would be like London without St. Paul’s and Paris without the Eiffel Tower! The benefit is immediate and the need desperately close.
Affordable Housing Trust
If you want to know how horrible a 40B project (or two, or three) can do to a community, you don’t have to drive too far. They bypass our zoning, they bypass our safety monitoring, they bypass our water & sewer demands and they put horrible pressure on the schools and our infrastructure. The CPA money would be added to the Trust so we can work toward 10% of affordable housing to avoid these monsters dedicated to community destruction.
Another place that has become very closely identified with Newburyport and with its culture. It is literally become the center by which tourists disembark to see the rest of the community. It’s roof needs fixing and the biggest benefit is the installation of a preservation restriction guaranteeing the preservation of this structure far into the future.
My point in all these recommendations is not to sway the Community Preservation Committee who do a pretty good job but rather my readers to champion our tax money where it will do the most good. The CPC wants to hear from you. I want to put pressure on our elected officials and I would love to have you join me – your combined informed* opinion will be taken very seriously.
* Enthusiastic idiocy only causes wasted political energy, a lot of confusion and in the end, money ill-spent. An informed citizenry on the other hand is powerful!