Citizens not Mayor’s Saved Our City from Demolition!

Citizen’s Made the Difference!

Projecting the Wrong Conclusions!

A series by the Daily News called “A Port in Progress” initially was a series in the paper but then became a rather, delightful book.    But as I have seen the articles develop, the facts have been steadily laid out from an incorrect point of view.   

The impression of these articles records mayor after mayor who struggled on with a wonderful vision of Newburyport as it is today.   

Huh, not exactly. One truth is evident; politicians love to take credit for other’s work. I am glad that I hesitated to send in my response to the series.    During the Yankee Homecoming, the Daily News inadvertently wrote about the real give and take that produced our city today in the article, “Lawsuits, Public ‘Wayes’ and Controversy”.   Over the last month or so, I haven’t been the only one in town to notice talk about the “leaders” having some messianic vision and locals from that time scratching their head and saying, “That’s not what I recalled.”  

In truth, It is the hard work by non-profit organizations and dedicated citizens over many years that should receive the majority of recognitions.    

This brings me to Edmund & Ruth Burke and Dr. Robert Wilkins.     If the mayors were doing such a great job, why did the demolitions continue?     Politicians with such visions of the future would have stopped the destruction.    

The Citizen Volunteer Heroes

I did an Internet search for the Burke’s.     I found nothing.    No accolades except for a brief mention.    No organization left behind.    In fact, according to Vision Appraisal, I can’t find a home with their name on it or if they even still live here.     Yet this couple worked tirelessly to preserve the historic nature of our city.     Through their influence, Historic New England (then called, the New England Antiquities (SPNEA) appealed to HUD which at that time required demolition when conducting urban revitalization.   Due to their influence, HUD changed their program to stress preservation rather than demolition which literally changed the face of America.   I have traveled all over this country and seen urban areas such as Jamestown, NY a thriving inner city where HUD preserved and did not destroy.    I, for one; wish to thank the Burke’s and their family for what they did for Newburyport and for our country.     It is citizens that have made the difference in our beautiful city by the mouth of the Merrimack.       If any real improvement and change occurs in our city, it won’t be initiated by City Hall, it will be citizens with a lot of passion who will struggle to take the time to make a difference in our town. In the past we had groups such as Friends of the Waterfront and The Waterfront Open Space Group and Citizens for Environmental Balance and today we have groups such as Save our Town, Support Newburyport, Newburyport Preservation Trust, and the list goes on. For those citizens who may be asleep, it is the standard bearers of the Burkes and Wilkins who cry out for them to wake up and realize you don’t need budgets and consultants and a fancy organization to spawn a brighter future for Newburyport.   

Citizens!    Behold the power within your reach and continue to make a difference.