In the tourist industry as in any commercial venture; you’ve got competition – and it can get pretty intense. To compete, you’ve got to have a great allure, but you’ve also dedicated yourself to marketing and promoting. And then, when you’ve finally have visitors; you’ve got to make sure it is such a memorable, pleasurable experience; they will not only return but will bring their friends and families.
Newburyport has buckets of allure, compressed and overflowing. We’re still weak when it comes to marketing and promoting but I know that finally City Hall and the Chamber are uniting to get it done. And we’ve got visitors.
Our City in the Twenty-first Century makes its bread and butter on how we appear! Businesses downtown rise and fall by our appearance. Property values and investment trends hinge on the ‘street’ views that a unique city like Newburyport can provide.
The sad fact is that thanks to state bureaucracy, unions and ‘prevailing wage’, it will be a long time before you see a single DPS guy going around just pulling weeds*.
We all need to chip in to increase business opportunities and increase visitors. Yes, that includes Wards 5 & 6; your property values are dependent on how ‘nice’ the City looks in the historic district.
The funny thing is, it’s not expensive to dispense with it! It requires EVERYONE who lives and works in Newburyport to exhibit teamwork. If we all chip in and clean the sidewalks that abut our private properties, and make them look sharp, and the curbs clean and our trees trimmed; it will literally cause our city to shine which will help everyone in town. Portsmouth, which does not suffer under prevailing wage laws; literally sparkles in a breathtaking way; which has translated into an incredible increase in affluence and wealth , higher property values and a higher quality of visitor.
We can counteract Massachusetts’ built-in bureaucratic road block by having an extreme care and love for our community.
AND THAT’S NOT HARD IN NEWBURYPORT!
So, leaving the justification for community-wide, citizen-involved maintenance; let’s get to the practical part – how do you take care of that city-owned property that lies in front of your house? (Or business) I don’t care if it’s concrete. The quality of concrete that is being used in our city does not last as long as the bricks do; there will eventually be a patchwork of cracks all over the surface. If you have blacktop, expect its uneven undulations to catch soil and plants in short order or have weeds peeking through the cracks. If you have brick, it will be either uneven, filled with dirt in its shallow parts and if cheap brick, the New England cold has long shattered the individual blocks.
But the weeds and the dirt is what makes our city look so bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, the typical weed killer if used by everyone is going to start affecting our ground water as it makes its way to the Merrimack River; the best result is to use a special mixture that you can make at home that will kill the weeds, not pollute our ground water and will keep the surface from being destroyed by Mother Nature – and thus in the end, reduce the amount of maintenance.
Please be careful not to get too close to our precious street trees. And make sure any excess does not go near our storm drains that connect to the river!
But even after you have applied this liquid, you are not finished yet. Instead of green weeds all over your sidewalk, you will have brown, shaggy strings of plants that will make the sidewalk look even worse. You must either hand-pluck the weeds out of the cracks, OR use my favorite tool, the hoe.
This clever device can scrape the plants off the sidewalk and by tilting onto the pointed edge run through those nasty cracks. It works equally well with dirt, and with those shadey parts filled with Moss. And when you buy it at Lunt & Kelly’s; do not get the cheap version, get the higher quality that can take the abuse of scratching against a hard surface.
Newburyport is filled with beautifully maintained yards and landscapes. We need to extend that kind of impression to the sidewalks. Literally, due to the way our state is setup; the DPS and the City can’t fully do the kind of maintenance that our historic areas demand.*
It is going to be every citizen’s job to make our city the kind of experience that guarantees that we have not just visitors but a whole train accompanying them.