It is clear from reading my posts over the years that I am strongly, for equity and property value reasons, on the basis of heritage tourism with history squarely on my side; advocating brick sidewalks within the Newburyport Historic District and concrete sidewalks outside for the rest of the city.
The Mayor cares little about heritage tourism, it’s about getting the sidewalk issue ‘solved’ Consequently, since MassDOT has concrete on the brain; and has threatened removal of funding unless Newburyport complies; it has taken City Councilor Cronin (formerly known as Cronin the Barbarian) to stand up to the state for the sake of our precious heritage tourism. The downtown was saved from being lost; but subcontractors were not informed of our exemption and have proceeded to slather concrete all over the rest of the Newburyport Historic District. She has done all this because her vision does not involve the huge revenue generator that heritage tourism has given our city.
As Ken Wood eloquently stated,
“The larger problem is the lack of overall vision for the City”
I might rephrase that to make it more accurate,
“The overall vision of our city is there all right but it does not involve heritage tourism.”
Based on the residual power of that type of economy, hundreds of property owners know that they could inexpensively pump-up their equity and the city could indirectly and directly benefit with a higher assessed value; by putting in brick sidewalks throughout the historic district.
The Temple Street Gang successfully fought against the Mayor’s version of a sleepy, Boston bedroom community; and now they not only have brick sidewalks on their side but thanks to Wayne Amaral and Tony Furnari; the very highest standards applied.
Take a look at these pictures! (For the benefit of those who don’t normally travel Temple Street.)
In contrast to my street in which the contractor hired by a group of homeowners, installed brick down to the street and caused dips and uneven ramps making it difficult for the handicapped to travel in a straight line.
I had gravel in my driveway put in by a previous homeowner and there was no border of granite between the abrasive gravel and the brick – causing damage to the sidewalk unlike a properly placed barrier between other surfaces and the brick.
As Ken Woods states, “I like the idea that it would only cost $400 but if I have to pay for brick I do not mind” This Temple Street resident represents hundreds of those who understand that Newburyport became affluent because of our historic structures and streetscapes not through boaters, restaurants and trinket shops.
As Mayor Sullivan said years ago,
““People come to Newburyport to be attracted by the historicity of the community”
Contractors, developers and Mayors aside; it is still the main reason that people come to Newburyport.
THAT IS HOW WE BECAME AFFLUENT AND A REGIONAL LEADER.
They come to live in an environment where just stepping outside the door feels like experiencing the privilege of the wealthy with architectural and environmental beauty surrounding them in quiet, historic neighborhoods near the river and the sea. Doesn’t matter if you live in a tiny apartment, a small one-room-wide house or a huge mansion; we all get to enjoy our walkable, lovely city together.
Our abundance of realtors attests to our desirability.
By keeping our neighborhoods intact and historic; we inhibit the wealthy to gentrify us by coming in and removing our little houses that are wedged in between our Federal and Georgian mansions.
One of the wonderful benefits of our city is the juxtaposition of low, moderate and upper-class neighbors rubbing shoulders with each other with respect for each other. (Okay, there are a few snobs in the mix on one side and red necks on the other but they are a tiny minority!) But it is this condition, so fragile and wonderful at the same time; that needs preserving!
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY WHO WANT TO PUT AN END TO IT!?!