, Newburyport, MA

June 27, 2013

Selectmen order Ablow to remove swing on town common


---- — NEWBURY — Going “up in a swing” may be “the pleasantest thing ever a child can do,” according to poet Robert Louis Stevenson, but it’s not going to happen on the Upper Green.

At a meeting on Tuesday selectmen unanimously agreed that a swing installed without permission on a tree on the historically significant green must come down. According to the board, resident Keith Ablow was responsible for the installation.

“Why would he do that?” asked Selectman Michael Bulgaris, to which Selectmen Chairman Joe Story replied, “It seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess.” The chairman said that while a swing is “certainly not a bad thing,” the town must concern itself with issues such as liability and who will maintain the equipment going forward.

“My main concern is that he didn’t asked for permission,” Selectman David Mountain said.

His colleague Geoff Walker questioned whether it was certain that Ablow was actually the one who put the swing up. Once the board’s administrative assistant confirmed that it was he, town leaders agreed to write Ablow a letter requesting the swing come down.

In other business on Tuesday, selectmen approved a request from the chief of police to appoint Stephen Smith and John Lucey III as full-time police officers. They also approved a list of annual appointments as well as several interdepartmental transfers.

The board OK’d a request from the Beachcoma Restaurant to have live music from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on July 5 in recognition of its second year anniversary and recognized the 40th anniversary of Pacific Legal Foundation with a proclamation. A Fuel Training half-marathon running through a portion of Newbury was approved for June 1, 2014.

An agreement prohibiting water and sewer access on town-owned land at 81 Old Point Road was signed. The land was unfavorable for development. Selectmen corrected language regarding the plot number on a preservation restriction at 85 High Road.

Story announced that artist Carol Baum is working with the Triton Regional School District to erect a trash tower sculpture near the Newbury Elementary School to raise awareness of littering problems in town. Baum had initially hoped to install the artwork on the Upper Green but had to rethink her plans when selectmen got push-back from residents about the idea.

Story also wanted to notify the public that the Board of Assessors begins property assessments within the next two weeks. All assessors will be wearing official town ID badges.

Selectman Chuck Bear was not present on Tuesday.