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The brick sidewalks that adorn our downtown are not there because they want to establish an 'historic' ambriance.     They reflect back to an extraordinary man who was born and raised in Newburyport, fled because of the devastation from the Great Fire of 1811; and went on to become an international merchant acquiring large sums of money.


But he never forgot his hometown and when he passed away, he bequethed a large sum to have sidewalks and trees placed around to help every citizen with good pedestrian walkways and trees above for shade.

Newburyport is a walkable community.      But there is nothing so dangerous and unpredictable as the unsurety of surfaces and styles of the sidewalks in the city.

Standardizing sidewalks allow safe flow of pedestrians and gives every citizen, even if physically challenged; an opportunity to traverse the community in comfort and in perfect safety.     It also enhances the desireability of a neighborhood causing secure property values.

Brick sidewalks because of their 'green' sustainability require maintenance on an aggressive level.     


Weeds can grow through the cracks, and erosion can eat away the stone dust that lies beneath them.     Citizens who consistently maintain their brick will see them last literally their lifetime.     Savy abutters know that a sharp sidewalk also increases the equity and property values of their adjoining properties.


The sidewalks are considered city property.      Therefore, no citizen can 'work' on them, unless they receive permission from City Hall.

A contractor who is bonded, is needed to install the sidewalk.      Sometimes the city will do it as a larger project through Chapter 90 funding; but more than likely, a permitted contractor will be doing the job.    This is the step-by-step procedure for installation.

There are a great many benefits for having brick sidewalks.      Their presence in front of an historic house, their existence in an historic district enhances property values and increases equity.

They are also very 'green' - brick sidewalks are permeable, and to work on them, simply means re-stacking them, rebuilding the under layment;and then putting them back.       They are also sustainable; bricks last far longer by decades than black top or cement.


The city, private citizens and the march of history has provided a patchwork of brick sidewalks across the Newburyport Historic District.     Until an effective Brick Ordinance is established; the John Bromfield Society will chronicle the valiant efforts across the district to establish historic brick sidewalks.


Every effort to increase this inventory should be encouraged and made.


Brick Sidewalks

As long as property abutters or a particular city administration dictates the surface type of the sidewalks; there will never be a consistent, safe means of pedestrian movement.      The surface type needs to be consistent.    Heritage Tourism, our golden goose needs to be secured as well.

The Brick Ordinance resolves this in utter simplicity: brick sidewalks inside the Newburyport Historic District; and concrete for all others outside the historic district with exceptions due to safety concerns.

Heritage Tourism is important to Newburyport.     These ten areas need to be done right away to powerfully increase the single most important revenue enhancing secor of economy.

When money is tight and just so much can be expended for sidewalks; these ten areas should be done first for maximum benefit to the city.

There are sidewalk abutters who 'get it' as to what makes Newburyport unique and key to its present affluence.

This understanding of the importance of heritage tourism has led to many private sidewalk abutters to expend their funds to contribute as good citizens toward an historic Newburyport.


We honor these local patriots by highlighting their efforts on a monthly basis.      

One of the arguments against covering the entire Newburyport Historic District with brick sidewalks; has been the assertion that brick sidewalks did not exist in many sections of the historic parts of the city.


This of course, did not stop Portsmouth, NH with lack of proof from covering their neighborhoods in their historic district with brick which has caused their city as well as the inner urban environment to shine and grow $$$.


Included street by street are historic pictures showing the brick on many Newburyport Streets

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