Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another fight with Gloucester?

Well, last year we had the 'epic,' but short-lived, battle over our flagpole/their historic boom.

For those of you not familiar with the situation, here's the short version:

Newburyport 70 years ago acquired an old ship's boom to use as a flagpole outside its downtown fire station. Gloucester's historical element decided last year that since the boom came from a Gloucester schooner, they needed it back.

From the Feb. 6, 2007 story in the Daily News: At least two Gloucesterites - Mayor John Bell and Geoffrey Richon, president of the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center - want the boom since it is the last remaining piece of one of the city's most famous schooners.

Bell is no longer the mayor of Gloucester and the issue seems to have died in committee, so to speak. (By the way, I can't find the story that ran in the Gloucester Times, sister paper to the DN, and also by Stephen Tait, with the hilarious headline: Gloucester wants its boom back.)

So now, at least one person in Gloucester thinks that Newburyport should not be the home for a satellite facility of the New England Aquarium. In this Op-Ed piece that ran in yesterday's Boston Globe, one Susan Pollack speaks to why, in her opinion, Gloucester should be the location, not Newburyport, for the facility.

Since I snitched this 'lead' from a comment on Tom Salemi's blog, I won't go into it much. But he hasn't posted about it, so I felt free ...

Gloucester need not follow in the footsteps of Nantucket, Newburyport, Newport, and so many other New England seacoast communities that have ceded their economies to second homes and tourism, she writes.

Unfortunately, this is the tag that Newburyport carries. As I believe I mentioned before, someone recently said that she sees our fair city as a "tourist trap" - and coincidentally, the comment was made in Gloucester (although she does not live there)!

What are we willing to give up in the contest between preservation and development, as she says Gloucester's future is characterized? I think it's fair to say that's what is going on here, as well as there.

Hell, I earlier wrote about possibly giving up the fireworks in the name of development.

Gloucester, btw, is pretty much still a serious seaport city.

(To which I can attest, as our sailboat was nearly rammed by a huge fishing boat in Gloucester Harbor, while I was at the tiller: "Watch out for Princess Diana," said my brother-in-law, the real sailor in the group; "Huh?" said I. The boat bearing down on us was the Princess Diana. Yikes, it was HUGE.)

Newburyport's seaportness is confined to half a dozen fishing boats of moderate size and a bunch of pleasure boats. I don't mind the latter - they look really nice bobbing in the river.

Well, I don't know what will happen, how far along the decision-making path the NE Aquarium is, or where such a structure would go that would include a decent parking lot, or nearby parking, or anything along those lines.

I'm having lunch today with my sister, who lives in Gloucester, and will solicit some thoughts from her.


Sarah Swart said...

My thoughts are, of course, that (first) Gloucester should be the site, and (second) that my husband is not the only "real" sailor in the group. I am certified by the American Sailing Association, as of 2004, I believe, having successfully completed a full sailing course. I will grant you that the incident mentioned was probably before then. :) But back to the issue at hand, remember what our NYC friend aid when he was here: Nowhere else that he has traveled in the WORLD (and he has traveled) is as focused on fish as Gloucester is.

- Sarah

Gillian Swart said...

Sorry, you're right (but it was before you got certification, I thnk). Wow, doesn't seem like it was that long ago ...