Historic Preservationists have a lot to be proud of when it comes to Newburyport. Our downtown compared to what it was like before is our day-to-day reminder. We are also proud that our citizens turned the whole National Urban Renewal Program on its head. There were dozens of nay-sayers when it came to Urban Renewal before historic preservation was instituted. They simply weren’t working! The goal was to draw people back into the dying downtowns and create wholesome communities. I still remember visiting Painted Post, NY. A hurricane had wiped out the downtown and they built this brand new center – it looked great except for one thing – no people, no businesses and no life.
Newburyport changed all that and gave HUD a lot of great publicity it probably didn’t deserve. Either way, we should be proud and we should also be very proud that our City is the envy of the entire region if not of New England. Pride for our historic High Street, pride of our beautiful preserved buildings and pride for the rich bounty of real history found inside the Newburyport Historic District.
We need to stop being timid and realize that if we don’t speak up and make our concerns known, we will be drowned out by civil community concerns (like where to put a stop sign or how to fund schools) to Green Advocates who want to destroy through their misguided zeal the most green buildings in the state, our historic structures. Whether day-to-day concerns or major threats, our voices need to be heard.
Staying silent is not an option and for heaven’s sake, stop the timidity. We should be loud and clear.
It took the demolition of fully 1/3rd of downtown Newburyport before the citizens rose up in alarm – let’s not have a major preservation disaster to do the same today!