I have been incredulous at the statements made by the anti-LHD movement. Speaking out of both sides of their mouth, they claim they appreciate and love historic preservation but they don’t want any protections put into place.
Let me give you an analogy to demonstrate how ridiculous this is.
Let’s suppose a large number of people really appreciate the fact we have a low crime rate. There are very few communities where you can walk down a street at 2:00 in the morning without being molested in some form or another. Yet, that is one of our hallmarks.
Let’s also suppose that the citizens of Newburyport mark this redeeming character of our City by proposing canceling our local ordinances and laws. In fact, they take one step further and lay off the police force since they are hardly needed.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN?
Every criminal from the entire Northeast and beyond, violent and non-violent, would be making a hasty trip to lawless Newburyport. Like flies to an insect strip, they would crowd our city, exploiting without repercussions and it wouldn’t be long before we would be like the alternate future in Hill Valley in Back to the Future II.
We already lost the protections of the Downtown in 2005. If we choose not to do a local historic district ordinance to recover those protections and to add High Street, and turn our backs on historical protections; the message is going to go out all across the Northeast that open season has commenced on Newburyport. Every desperate and two-bit developer is going to run to our town for an easy killing, demolishing, flipping, gutting, re-furbishing and installing upscale large homes until we hardly bare any resemblance to an Old Historic Seaport. Like zombies, new homeowners who have lost the value of their homes in other communities will be scrambling to get a piece of our City’s flesh.
I’m no financial advisor but at least in my little domain; I’d be looking to sell and in a hurry. According to the National Architectural Trust, we’ve lost 700 historic homes since 1984, that means only some 2000 left.
I encourage you to impress on our city councilors how important it is that we re-affirm our path to a bright future and restore and expand our historic protections.
Unlike Mr. Strickland, I don’t own a shotgun.