Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Dream

A New Year’s Dream for Rockport…

Satellite view of Rockport’s Whistlestop Mall, MBTA Station, and Hardware Store.

I had a dream….  There's this beautiful little town, perched on the rocks, on the very tip of Cape Ann.  
It’s a very pleasant town, with lots of very friendly people.  Thousands and thousands of people come from all over the world to visit each year.  We have artists whose work is shown in galleries around the world, and we have a new music performance center that is one of the best in the world. 
We have authors, and fishermen, teachers, healthcare workers, shopkeepers, inventors, publishers, entrepreneurs, cooks, potters, lawyers, hospitality workers, scientists, photographers, scholars, mechanics, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, broadcasters, engineers, bankers, and lots of retired people who used to do all those things.
Where several decades ago we had a whole bunch of little grocery stores, and two years ago we had one, now we have none.
My dream was that one day soon some men and women got together and decided to make a change right in the heart of town.  They decided to pool their resources, and create a place where Rockporters and neighbors from Gloucester could come to shop for groceries, buy good wine and cheese, and baked goods and quality prepared foods.  In that same place there would be one or two nice little restaurants, and maybe a snack bar.  Since our flower shop is now gone, there might be a pretty flower shop. There’d be a drug store, of course.

Rockport is ready for a small, high-quality food and beverage store.

These people would be a friendly combination of those who own the included property, those who have a bright vision of such a new feature for Rockport, and political leaders who share that vision.
I think we could count on the support of our State Senator and State Representative to go to bat for us, and hopefully our Congressman as well, to pry the resources from the Commonwealth and Federal Government, to finally build the MBTA station that people have been talking about for years.
Along with a new, revitalized train station would come a plan to develop housing nearby for people who mostly depend upon public transportation. 
Our Planning Board would prepare a proposal for special zoning, and Town Meeting would approve it.
Since this would all be located around the train station, there could be state and federal funds to help make all this happen.  
And because this retail area would be next to the train station, it would be a good place for little shops that would serve train passengers, both our own commuters and all the visitors who come and go by train.
With all the imaginative people in Rockport, this dream might just happen.
Sam Coulbourn


  1. Well done Sam. Maybe 2014 will bring our little town some new activity.

  2. Maybe a co-operative grocery store would be the right idea. There seem to be a lot of people who are interested in starting a store, with few having a huge portion of the start-up capital themselves. With a co-op each person could contribute a small amount of money for a small stake. The site is reasonably accessible for people on public transportation or on foot. There's definitely a market for a real grocery store and a lot of people who would help out.