Have you ever heard the expression, “They couldn’t find their way out of a brown paper bag.”?
Well, that expression for the longest time fit the Newburyport Preservation Trust. You’d try to get something done and they’d assert with enthusiasm that this Ô was the way out of the brown paper bag.
Then later, they would assert with perfect assurance, it was this way:
It was really getting bad – basically, they couldn’t get anything done and they certainly weren’t going to tell anybody that anything was happening or invite willing volunteers to come in and help.
In contrast, the environmentalists have certainly got their act together. They pursue things on a legal basis, legislative basis, political activist basis and really know how to put pressure on state and local governments to save the environment. The ‘green technology’ enthusiasts know how to get things done and we can see it in local and state government with legal and legislative and political activism. They go after the money in grants and loans…and get them! And they get things done! What about the Coastal Trails Coalition? When some whacky neighbors on Ferry Road screamed about the horrors of a rail trail, did you see them scurry and hide?
Historic Preservationists? (I’m talking about Newburyport Preservationists because thankfully New England Preservationists have been very effective state and regionally.) They’ve turned into a bunch of troglodytes huddled in the darkest recesses of the cave! But this same local group wants the whole City to adopt a massive local historic district ordinance but we certainly don’t want to push local government or get state aid. Homeowners!?! Let’s leave them ignorant and totally unaware of what is going on concerning historic preservation issues or even how to deal with their property! For awhile, the NPT had a frozen website. Imagine that? A 501(c)(3) recognized by the City for legal easements and supposedly a support arm for the Historical Commission and it didn’t even have a functioning website. And if anyone said, ‘Boo’ at City Hall, they all scrambled (yes it’s true), ‘to hide’. How do you stop demolitions and preserve entire neighborhoods by hiding!!!????!!!!!!
Well, things are beginning to improve BIG TIME.
The Preservation Trust now has a dynamic website, the Trust board is mean & lean and most exciting, they’re getting organized. I mean, they are not where they should be by any means compared to other groups in the State but they are at least know their goals and are working hard to get there.
If you’ve been frustrated like me, now’s the time to stop watching on the sidelines and start jumping in. They’re ineffectiveness has put them behind the 8 ball but they are catching up FAST. They need all the help they can get!
-The Masked Preservationist
* Hint, it’s this way: