To the editor:
My husband and I were both fortunate to grow up in one place and attend the public schools there from K-12.
As parents, it was important to us to choose a safe, vibrant community with excellent schools to raise our sons. Newburyport is their hometown and I hope that they can remain here as adults if they choose.
I grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Lexington with small homes built in the 1950s. My parents were teachers and the fire chief lived next door. It was a safe and fun neighborhood where the children were free to play and explore outdoors.
Fast-forward a few decades and the houses in my neighborhood were demolished and replaced with mansions. The Lexington of my childhood is gone. My mother put off selling our home until 2015 because she feared it would be torn down, and it was.
Now, my mother lives in Newburyport and we’re thrilled to have three generations here in the city we love. That’s why it’s so important to me to see the many lifelong residents of Ward 6 be able to retire and thrive here and for their children to be able to raise their own families in the community where they grew up.
We have an aging population in Newburyport and it’s getting increasingly difficult for seniors to remain here. Rising property taxes can put stress on a fixed income.
Those wanting to downsize find limited options for smaller, affordable units. “Aging in place” is a philosophy gaining popularity for good reason; remaining in your community of family, friends, church and activities contributes to wellness and longevity.
The lack of moderate-income housing is likewise a challenge for young families and professionals.
With a median home price of $537,000, many individuals are priced out of living in our city and attending our schools. This includes people in the arts, education, nonprofits and retail. This is an issue that affects all of us since socioeconomic diversity helps create a vibrant, well-rounded community.
The Brown School is a good place to start by considering proposals for affordable housing. I attended the July 16 Planning Board meeting and spoke in support of senior affordable housing.
Some South End residents are concerned about parking as well as having play space for their children. I believe these concerns could be addressed while still moving forward with an affordable housing plan.
As your city councilor, seeking solutions to the problem of affordability would be one of my top priorities. When making critical decisions on zoning, ordinances and the city budget, we should always consider the best interests of our residents and their wallets.
Why overdevelop the city with luxury homes and condos that few can afford? This puts more money in the hands of developers and does little for our city and its residents. Let’s preserve the quaint New England charm and neighborly feeling of our city for ourselves and for future generations.
The letter writer is a candidate in the Ward 6 Newburyport City Council race.