Tis the season for Christmas and Hanukkah and general holiday cheer; spent with family and friends. And in our classic ‘Dickens’ setting downtown and our lovely historic neighborhoods; the last thing we want to hear or see is more politics after this last November in town; and the daily horror show on the news channels. But along with Bob Crachit and the Spirit of Christmas Present, sidles along side old Ebenezer Scrooge. Long tired of demanding we all be boiled in our own pudding; has devised some nefarious ways to influence the whole lot of us distracted Newburyporters.
Since the dark siders in town have become a diminishing lot; their influence and power has waned but they still have some centers where they hold sway. One is a bank (of course, just the thing for Scrooge), and the other is the Newburyport Daily News. While the rest of us are busy partying and shopping; they’ve been thinking how to change the narrative in town. (especially since they have lost control of it!)
The first was the headline, “New park said to cost millions“. And now, today, it is, “Councilor: Parking garage is too pricy” Now, if you’re paying attention and most of us are not; it doesn’t take long to see a pattern developing.
Apparently the park has some pretty hefty, hybrid style grass that will be planted. I checked down at Lunt & Kelly’s and a twenty-dollar bill will cover a good size yard and that’s using Scott’s which is typically more expensive. And apparently, they’re going to use some Star Wars style lawnmower to help beat back this fancy grass.
Of course, I’m being sarcastic because there is one thing that dark siders can’t stand is a park! As Curt Gerrish, our most costly dark sider (who conned the city out of substantial tax money through TIF’s), once said, “A big mistake and a terrible waste of resources. The parks in the city are never used” But of course, an enhanced quality of life is never an issue with these guys. So what did the paper mean the park is going to cost millions? If you bother while wrapping presents to have read through the article, they used the Cecil Plan as their template. These half-mad consultants crammed a veritable Disneyland Park into just 4.2 acres. It had bandstands, snack shops, interpretive centers, ice skating and for the summer water sprinklers so kids could keep cool and I am not even half finished what was crammed into the design. Think of utility lines, drainage systems, electric conduits and extensive plumbing.
Expensive Grass or not, only a few blades would have had a chance to fit in the panorama!
It isn’t that the dark siders want a status quo but the whole purpose of the NRA is to take property and sell it to a private developer. There is a hallmark characteristic of dark siders: they are a bitter bunch – if they can’t make profit neither should the citizens enjoy the park!
Now the rest of us know that as soon as the municipality gets control of these acres; a whole host of non-property-tax funding and grant opportunities become available.
Don’t let them fool you.
So what’s the beef with the garage? Dark Siders hate out-of-towners and want them out of here – fondly remembering the old mills and the local Townies running the show. The whole purpose of this garage is to encourage more visitors to our shops. Dark Siders hate the entire economy the city is based upon – making the visitors pay for our fine government services rather than us. Plus, the idea of actually spending the extra money to make the garage blend seamlessly into the downtown irritates their stingy-hearts. What better way to show their anger than to let the last remaining dark sider on the city council be their messenger.
Now the rest of us just need to get back into the holiday spirit and forget these rather pitiful attempts to sour us. We have such a wonderful place that it makes me hesitate to tell anyone outside of the city that I live here.
For then I get that classic exclamation based on a mix of admiration and envy,
“Newburyport! I just love Newburyport – such a beautiful place.”
PS. We have challenges that we must tackle this coming year, but, like tax-filing; it can wait until 2016!