The Situation hasn’t changed much!

Some philosophers claim that the person you were at any point in the past is not the same person you are today; you viewpoints change, your environment may change giving you an entirely different perspective on life and who you are as a sentient being.      Well, I’m afraid that considering the situation on sidewalks hasn’t changed much; I’m afraid I will be guilty as a time traveler in plagiarizing this blog from August 22nd, 2010:

Putting your pants on backwards

“Rebelling for the sake of rebelling.      That is what this phrase means.       Whether it’s a mean-streak or stubbornness or an extreme dislike of being told what to do, many will do just the opposite.       We see it in adolescents all the time often to their own detriment.

Some will rebel even if it hurts them.

There is a no-brainer in Newburyport.     We may be the birthplace of the Coast Guard, birthplace of the true Yankee Clipper ship and the Bill of Rights may have been born on Federal Street and our city is known as the home of William Lloyd Garrison and George Whitefield; but frankly the thing that impresses visitors the most is the juxtaposition of granite and brick.       When people ‘visualize’ our city, they see the brick sidewalks and the granite curbing and the cobblestones.

Logically, if our historic district is framed in brick and granite, we will attract large amounts of visitors affirming that identification.       Portsmouth doesn’t even have an historic justification for brick sidewalks but they knew that putting them in not just in the business district but throughout the historic parts of the city, it would be money in the bank.       Years have passed since they did it and guess what?      They’ve got money in the bank and the money keeps coming in*. (Their city was in the toilet at about the same time as ours by the way.)

Amesbury’s downtown looked for a decade or more like a throwback to the Great Depression.     Busy as the town was, the best thing to do was gun the engine and get past the unsightly main street.       Thanks to the leadership of Nick Cracknell, they bricked the downtown sidewalks.      They have had a renaissance ever since and no one is daring to look back.

The fact is simple:   There is nothing more able to loosen purse strings than a pleasant ambient atmosphere.

Why do you think Karp loved all those malls?       They were designed to be clean, shiny pleasant places for what purpose?     To make people spend money.        Real Estate is the same way.      Present your house a dump and get a dumpy price.       Spiff it up and get the better price.     The IRS has even quantified it economically [for a city like Newburyport]that historic brick in an historic district WILL produce a 15% to 20% boost in property values.

I am saying all this because the logical thing for Newburyport is to frame brick and granite throughout the Newburyport Historic District.       Our city will be literally buoyed financially like an inflatable lifeboat released from the bottom of the sea.     It will shoot up and out of the water and Newburyport will rise above the entire region.

But not so here in Cannibal City.     We have a municipality very happy to slather cheap blacktop or to rob us of our financial benefits by putting blah concrete in the historic district.      We have homeowners who make it a point to put down concrete or blacktop just to distinguish themselves from the rest of the homes.      Even though we all reap huge financial windfalls from the downtown being bricked, we have hundreds who flatly refuse to do it in their historic neighborhoods.

We have hundreds who insist on robbing themselves of financial benefit.

Sounds like a lot of people trying to poke their eye out with scissors, and cutting themselves with a smile.

To me, it’s a bunch of silly looking people trying to walk with their pants on backwards.”

Back now in 2015, we finally have a brick ordinance that has been submitted to city council that will literally begin to transform our city to the same level of prosperity that distant Portsmouth is now enjoying.    The big question is, “Have we decided to stop being Cannibal City, and to begin the road to benefiting all the citizens by enhancing our quality of life?   

We’ll find out as this zoning ordinance makes its way through the council.

P. Preservationist


This entry was posted in Architecture, Art & Culture, Businesses, Downtown, Economics, Environment, finances, Health and wellness, Heritage Tourism, History, Infrastructure, Planning, Quality of Life, Real Estate, sidewalks, Streetscapes, Zoning. Bookmark the permalink.

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