I heartily commend Mary Harbaugh for bravely standing up to the MVRTA on Friday morning. She spoke before ‘bureaucrats’ who hardly have Newburyport’s best interest in mind. But they’re not stupid. What they need is a firm-hand to steer them along. It doesn’t matter if their blank faces don’t understand what is needed in Newburyport, they’ll be happy as pigs in a pigsty if given clear instructions.
Thanks to Mary, the citizens and the Historical Commission have the ball in their park. If we don’t speak out on the appropriate design for the parking garage, then we can face the real ‘beauties’ that anyone can see visiting Boston, Haverhill, Lowell, Lynn and Worcester. Even Portsmouth’s which has been so successful is hideous. Its one saving grace is that its on a back street.
Newburyport is very compact and the garage can become a real asset if it’s ‘hidden’ and in which its facade blends in seemlessly with the architecture of the downtown. ‘Contemporary’ architects* should be politely escorted to the Gillis Bridge and warned to Keep Moving On!
There are specific guidelines and rules for putting new construction into an historic district. The community center at Cushing Park thankfully is being done in that way and so should the parking garage!
* Architects in college are trained to strike out and make a ‘statement’ for themselves. What we need is an architect minus an ego – an architect who isn’t ashamed to copy architectural styles from history.