Everyone has been busy working on their Christmas lists. Why, those of us who aren’t procrastinators, have probably started them back in September and done whatever effort our social rules will allow to ‘hint’ about them. It also is a good practice because it helps us make two lists: things we need and things we want. Of course, being a man, this is a dangerous mine field. My wife desperately needs a blender for the kitchen. I’m sorry. I love her so…but it has been the butt of jokes for decades about the man who got his wife a ‘blender’ for Christmas. There I was at the Mall, staring at a high-quality one for sale. I just couldn’t do it and slowly walked away.
But there is one big thing on my Santa list that I and many others need desperately right here on the Waterside: the Newburyport Preservation Trust.
How I wish we had one.
I know, I know – we have the legal trappings of one. Why, it’s a full-fledged 501( c)(3) organization. It even has a board of directors and a website and they hold great annual meetings and one week in May on ‘preservation’.
But this one has a website which is underperforming and lacks current information. There is no resource section for helping the beleaguered homeowners on taking care of their historic homes. There are no activities during the year (except for Preservation Week) to add ‘value’ to having membership. There are no fundraisers* to add to the coffers for the very expensive function of ‘preservation’. There is no division working on preservation easements or keeping lists of preservation easements in the city. There is no organized activist group for dealing with threats to historic buildings in the City. There is no organized presence in City Hall to counteract the constant pressure from contractors and developers.
So we need a real Newburyport Preservation Trust. This new gift will desperately be needed as homeowners require tools and handbooks on how to preserve historical homes in Newburyport. We need ordinances and local government practices that are sympathetic to historic preservation and heritage tourism and our valuable real estate. And we need its muscle to help get the local historic district ordinance passed as well as a publicly-listed preservation easement listing. And we need the host of members (which we already have) instructed on how to make a positive impact in the city.
And I want this Christmas gift* stuffed right on top of his bag of goodies.
Come on, Santa, bring me a present!
* If you’re Jewish; while you are celebrating Hanukkah, you might want to pile up some real gelt – it costs money when you’re dealing with historic preservation!