, Newburyport, MA

December 11, 2012

'Urban blight' a ruse to build condos

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Anyone who has ever attended an NRA meeting (Newburyport Development Authority) will note that at the beginning of the meeting one of thee NRA members sanctimoniously reads from their “Mission Statement” that was crafted many, many years ago when the city was in distress.

Part of the “Mission Statement” refers to removing urban blight from the City of Newburyport. Really! “Urban blight”! Has anyone seen any urban blight in Newburyport recently? I certainly haven’t.

In fact, Newburyport has become one of the most prosperous places to live in all Massachusetts. People have started calling it “Nantucket North.”

What the NRA is really referring to, of course, is the parking lot on the central waterfront that is still unpaved. This is their “urban blight.”

Well, I have a solution for them to end this “urban blight.” Get some trucks to come in and spread topsoil over parts of this unpaved parking lot. Then spread some grass seed over the top, plant some shrubs and trees and presto, you have a park with some parking, which puts an end to this “urban blight” once and for all. And then the NRA has nothing more to do.

But wait ... if it is so simple, then why aren’t they doing it? Let’s look a little closer and see what really is going on here. Suddenly you see they are trying to build 33 condominiums on our open waterfront. The waterfront that belongs to all of us.

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. The truth is they are using this “urban blight” phrase as a beard, as a cover, so they can build 33 condominiums on our open waterfront. This is what’s really going on!

So we should all rise up and say to them: No way, Mr. Shanley! No way, NRA! Leave our open waterfront alone!

Nicholas Metcalf