Listen, I’m excited about the fact the Local Historic District Study Committee has FINALLY come out after four long years.
I’m excited that we finally have ‘something’ that approaches some defense from the gentrification and up scaling that threatens to destroy the Newburyport we know and love. Plus, it is a wonderful counterbalance and hedge of safety from the new developments soon to go in on the west and east of the Central Waterfront.
I’m enthusiastic in the fact that in this terrible economy where property-values have persisted in being depressed, we will soon have a condition, recognized by the Commonwealth and the ever-watchful IRS, that property values become rock solid and then rise slowly and strongly. That in itself its just an awesome benefit and will make people even more envious of our City. (We’re already envied regionally.)
BUT THIS IS WHERE I AM UPSET:
Citizens for Environmental Balance has literally been in stasis waiting to know how to go to bat for the local historic district. Out in the cold, they have heard nothing or even knowing if there was to be an expanded LHD.
No educational meetings, no seminars, no news pieces and no word.
Newburyport Preservation Trust has also literally been sitting on its hands waiting to know to what extent this LHD would become and what its guidelines and ordinances would look like. Without any encouragement and literally incommunicado with the Chair; they have had nothing to do except to express their ‘future’ effort to help establish it.
No effort to reach out to preservationists (who would be the storm troopers in the effort to get it passed), and no work to get all the support groups aligned.
That is two to four years lost advocating and educating the general citizenry of Newburyport. And we have hundreds of new and ignorant arrivals! This will mean everyone has to redouble their efforts to promote this.
And finally, entire neighborhoods who thought they would be included in the new LHD will be left on the outside. So many were counting on a strong boost in equity and property values and now they will be looking at someone else profiting!* This means a lot of irate property investors and some very concerned neighbors!
So the question is, “Who thought it was a good idea to only do High Street and the Downtown and leave the rest of us in the National Register’s Newburyport Historic District out in the cold?
* To be fair and I will bring it out later, properties within a mile of a local historic district will receive a boost in their property values. This is why Greg Earls blocks away from Fruit Street had to recues himself from the vote on the Fruit Street Local Historic District. If it had passed (and it did), he would have had direct benefit and guilty of conflict of interest.