There I was this morning, having an early relaxing breakfast out on my patio. The air was warm and pleasant and the whole day seemed to beacon for great things. Then, I read a small tiny paragraph in the Daily News and almost choked on my coffee.
The Emma Andrews Library has sought money from the Community Preservation Committee to do a feasibility study.
That wasn’t the part that was upsetting. It was a few paragraphs down:
"A de-leading inspector visited the building last week and said the windows need to be replaced"
Now to show why this made my blood boil and ruin my entire morning I have to explain CPA. There are three to four uses for this citizen tax: affordable housing, historic preservation, open spaces & recreational land purchases.
If looking at the line-up before the city council on the recommended funding by the CPC, the library is seeking funds under the category of historic preservation.
This means the ‘feasibility study’ is for using the money to make restoration on an historic building. One of the intrinsic features on an historic structure are its windows. Hundreds of people have successfully stripped their lead-painted windows. My wife and I did, all of them. It is also far more expensive to put in new windows than to take out the windows and de-lead them. It is bad enough that a private homeowner foolishly throws their property values into the toilet over the cooing sounds of a window salesman; it is quite another for this de-leading inspector to trash a property in which the partial funding (and they will come back for more indeed) will be used to TRASH an historic structure. Worse, excessive money will be snatched away from legitimate historic preservation projects to enrich some window retailer!
The sheer hypocrisy is mind-numbing. In addition, if the library is used as a precedent under the new lead laws, then I can see hundreds of historic buildings in danger throughout the Newburyport Historic District falling prey to misguided ‘inspectors’.
We need people to write to the Mayor and the City Council and demand, "No" on the replacement of the windows. And if this inspector is misleading people in this way, I would demand a second opinion and a thorough examination of his credentials and his report. This can not stand.
I am 110% for CPA money to be used to help de-lead and restore the Emma Andrews Library. I am recommending that the Historical Commission be consulted to stop this desecration and I for one will be on the phone with the Preservation Trust, the Daily News and the Mayor.
Tax-money should not be mis-used on a false pretense.