I was very disappointed to see yet another chain-link fence going up at the Brown School. I was also crushed to find blacktop as the surface choice on the new sidewalks heading out to Maudslay State Park. (Even though the City as a matter of policy recommends concrete and frowns on blacktop.)
Homeowners are making the same poor choices – save some money, use the cheapest materials. Let’s just get by.
These kinds of policy choices were tolerated back when Newburyport was poverty-stricken. But now, it’s money wasted for short-term solutions.
When High Street was not ground down adequately and new pavement was laid, how can one measure the amount of abutters flooded basements and the erosion on the sidewalks because the new surface was practically level to the curb.
Money thrown after bad.
This kind of ‘getting by’ is not appropriate for a first-class City. Our money should be wisely invested into infrastructure that is going to translate into durability, and which enhances our property values, tax assessments and long term economics like eco and heritage tourism. Tourists aren’t going to want to stay or tolerate being charge large amounts of money if they stay in hotels with plastic siding and blacktop. They’re here because of aesthetics and architecture. They won’t eat in our restaurants, ride through our neighborhoods, shop in our businesses and walk amongst historic buildings if they get crappy food, violated architecture and overpriced tourist schlock. They’re here for an experience, a pleasant experience.
It’s also a terrible waste of a limited resource: taxpayer’s money.
Poor choices and poor materials means constant maintenance and costly replacement in a very short time.
When Mr. Vining and the Bartlett Mall Commission upgraded the park, they didn’t cut corners. They put in quality fencing, brick walkways and lovely landscapes. They could have done more but they had just so much money – they made it count and now it’s an asset that any local can be proud of.
The City needs to put brick sidewalks inside the historic district, cement sidewalks in the rest of the city and quality lighting and fencing when it can afford it.
Infrastructure and enhancements too expensive? Then don’t do it!
Don’t replace cheap crap with new cheap crap just so you can ‘spend’ money.
Newburyport’s citizens and its proud history deserves the very best.