The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
— Nelson Henderson

by Jonathan Sherwood

What I hear over and over from folks who, like me, have the good fortune of finding themselves settled down in Amesbury is: “What a hidden gem!”

A shagbark hickory nut tree on Powow Hill.

A well-preserved yet modernized downtown. Undeveloped open spaces, featuring two former farms. Access to two rivers and several lakes, including one steps away from downtown! Dozens of neighborhoods with their own close-knit networks and unique profiles.

Combined agricultural and industrial histories. A rich religious and political history, filled with dissidents, immigrants, poets, and visionaries.

A community full of volunteers ready to drop everything and come help with that cleanup, that trail build, or that construction of a new playground.

As an engaged resident of Amesbury, a City Councilor, and as a parent, I think a lot about the future of Amesbury, about its past, and about how best to help make it a better place to live, even if it means planting trees ‘under whose shade I do not expect to sit.’

That’s why the first committee that I volunteered for was the Master Plan Implementation committee, shortly after moving here. That’s why I’ve always been such a vocal advocate for school funding. That’s why I helped start the Amesbury Trails group, formed the new Open Space Committee, and am helping the Essex County Greenbelt Association preserve Whittier Hill. That’s why I have advocated for better long-range capital planning to the City. And that’s why I have supported the expansion of our commercial and industrial tax base.

That’s also why I’m supporting the creation of a Community Preservation fund for Amesbury by voting YES on Question #5 on the November ballot.

Adopting the Community Preservation Act will combine local and state funds to create an ongoing fund to provide seed, match, and project funding for the preservation and improvement of those things that make a community like Amesbury a great place to live: its parks, its open spaces, its historical assets, its water sources, its housing stock.

There are any number of groups at any given time working tirelessly on preservation and improvement projects but they are often hobbled by the simple reality of limited capital to make their visions reality. The opportunity that having a Community Preservation fund for Amesbury represents is having incubator funds to kick-start and turbo-charge these many efforts.

What does your ‘future of Amesbury’ look like?

What trees will you plant?