Get on with High Street plans
Daily News Editorial
Thursday, March 2, 2001
Newburyport's High Street is a gem -- in need of some polishing and care -- but a gem nonetheless.
And there are many people in the city who are concerned that it not be destroyed or irrevocably altered in a way that damages its beauty and historic character.
About 60 of those people turned out last night for a hearing to make their views known to the city.
What they don't want is the state Highway Department to come in and cut down trees or install a bunch of traffic lights.
What they would like is the state's money to do things like repave the bumpy and rutted roadway, fix sidewalks, care for the trees, ticket speeders and perhaps put power and cable lines underground.
What we don't understand is the slow pace at which this process is proceeding.
The city planners should have known by now all of the things that were talked about at last night's meeting.
Plans should have been completed over the winter so that, with spring only weeks away, repaving and other improvements could start.
As it is now, of the three main streets that run through the city, two of them are in terrible shape.
Residents and motorists surely would like to see that rectified.
Also, the longer this process goes on, the more suspicious residents seem to be about the mayor's and city's commitment to preserving the character of High Street.
At the end of last night's session, city planner Geordie Vining said he thought the next step would be "to boil all this information down into a statement of goals, objectives, strategies and guidelines, and capture a general consensus on paper" and then get a review committee together.
"Sooner, rather than later, I feel we will be able to talk in a position of strength with Mass. Highway," he said.
We would hope it would be sooner, because it feels like we've already entered the "later" stage.
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