, Gloucester, MA

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January 17, 2013

Letter: Just say no to northern Conomo Point sales

To the editor:

While communities across the country search for land and collaborate to raise funds to purchase open space and parkland, we are fortunate in that we already own Northern Conomo Point (NCP).

At first, I was angry that our forefathers had put us in this difficult position of having to decide what to do with NCP after the 99-year leases expired. Yet, after giving extensions, and bridge leases, and stretching the decision-making process out for several more years beyond the end of those 99-year leases, our community is still undecided about what to do. The many tenant/landlord disagreements and legal issues have bogged us down so that we cannot visualize a clear solution.

Northern Conomo Point is our headland. The Essex River is our lifeline to the sea. The estuary is the birthplace of 75-90 percent of fish and crustaceans. The clam flats provide meaningful work for many and their harvest nourishes residents and tourists alike. This entire ecosystem is sensitive, special, timeless, and feeds our spiritual and physical needs for connection to nature.

We cannot afford to sell an inch of Northern Conomo Point! We need open space there for the people of today and for those who will live here in the future.

Until now, less than 5 percent of the people in Essex have enjoyed the privilege of being on NCP: these are our long-term tenants. What about the rest of us: the other 95 percent? How long do we need to wait to access our heritage?

I wish everyone in Essex – the next time you need to run out to pick up a gallon of milk or the daily paper – would take the five-minute drive from Route 133 out to NCP. When you get there, don’t just drive around, park your car and get out and walk. Breathe in the sea air, take in the extensive water views, and really look all around you.

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