Newburyport Master Plan–Not High-End

When the Newburyport Master Plan was taking shape, I gotta admit that I didn’t get it, or sadly, appreciate its value to the community of Newburyport, MA.

I sure do now.

And one of the remarkable things about the Newburyport Master Plan is the wide variety of folks who contributed to it, including, among many others, Ann Lagasee, John Moak and Jim Stiles.

The Newburyport Master Plan is dated September 2001, but as I remember it, the document took a good year and a half to come together.

And one of the things that I find so interesting, as Newburyport, MA evolves, is that new influxes of folks have differing ideas. This seems to have been true ever since I moved here more than 25 years ago.

I happen to think that the Newburyport Master Plan is an incredible document, one to be used as an overall guide. And is as applicable today as it was in September 2001.

In the year 2000 when the Newburyport Master Plan was taking shape, Newburyport, MA seemed to be at a “place” where it was “balanced,” politically and in its socio-economic make up, which the Master Plan reflects.

And there were a lot of amazingly smart and thoughtful people involved in the Master Plan’s creation.

It was also pre-Karp and pre-New England Development.

Two of its “Guiding Principles” are:

Economic Vitality: “Ensure that growth is balanced and measured….”

Social Equity: “Foster and respect Newburyport’s socioeconomic diversity, giving consideration to the needs of lower-income and fixed-income residents.” (Page 7)

And on the previous page:

“The City’s traditional neighborhoods around the central core will continue to be revitalized, while preserving the diversity that makes them interesting and inviting places to live–a diversity of people as well as of physical structures.” (Page 6)

And one of the themes of the pre-Karp Newburyport Master Plan is an emphasis on economic diversity to make Newburyport “interesting and inviting.”

And when it comes to the Merrimac River itself, there is no mention of high-end marinas. Instead the emphasis is to, “Reinvigorate marine industries such as commercial fishing and boat building and repair.” (Page 28)

“High-End Homogenization” (see two previous entries) appears to be to me the antithesis of the Newburyport Master Plan.

One could argue that the values of the Master Plan would not be applicable to businesses. But I would feel that since a land-holder of New England Development’s magnitude would effect the future of Newburyport, MA physically, economically, socially and environmentally, that that it would be a good idea to take the Newburyport Master Plan into consideration, when making any economic plans for Newburyport, MA.

Mary Eaton