Letter Regarding T.V.L.

To Whom It May Concern,


I am writing in regards to the proposed changes to the Transient Vendors Licenses. I am moved to respond from a perspective of a solo voice when it comes to transient vending license and art in the city of Newburyport.


Before I get into a whole slew of interactions, proposals and implications Id like to make several main points very clear from the get go.


  1. I strongly suggest and feel an economic feasibility and implementation study based on my proposals for the expansion of Transient Vendors License in order to create an Inn Street Artisans Market and Merchant Community Garden Fountain be done. My reasons for this are included and expounded on within this letter.


  1. What studies or reasons have been given or stated in order to justify the changes and proposals made to the existing TVL ordinance other than complaints from specific sources,..and if so,..what sources?


Now, since I am the only holder of a non-food vending License, and these changes primarily effect and will result in doing more harm and damage to my operation than anyone else reading this letter or at the meeting held this evening, I hope that at very least you give this letter the attention it deserves. I have been hammering on these issues for years now to anyone that will listen and will continue to do so as long as I have a voice to speak, with, or without license.


In 2009, I was granted a transient license as the first non-food vendor in the city’s current history. As a business in possession of a transient license for the past seven years, I can attest to the challenges of a seasonal outdoor kiosk when it comes to vending something other than food. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the last email with attached draft language prepared by Councilor Eigerman.


Last month I attended the recent public meeting regarding the changes to the licensing. After forty five minutes to an hour of discussion mainly about food vending, I had an opportunity to make a statement at the end as a request for more local business and city support in regards to licensing for art and craft based vending businesses.


When I first began doing business as an artist on Inn Street ten years ago in festivals, there were three art gallery/gift based brick and mortar business’s on the street level. They have now all been replaced with more commercial and or food based operations, including major yogurt and ice cream retailers. And this is just in regards to the existing art gallery’s. The current economic indicators for a co-creative sustainable economy based on art and culture has dwindled to concern-able levels for not only my business but all surrounding business when it comes to art / culture based economic indicators.


Recent studies have demonstrated that for every dollar that is spent on art within any one particular source, every surrounding brick and mortar business creates ten to twelve dollars. Why is that? In my experience and research over the past ten years as owner and proprietor of the Spirit of Newburyport, the answer has become rather obvious. I have found that an art and culture based district attracts a more affluent, sophisticated, and a more financially stable demographic. One that is more capable to contributing to a local economy than one based on an imbalance of only commercial and/or food based operations, especially one that caters to children. This is not a matter of judgment. I love children. I have one of my own. But what I am talking about here is merely truth, based on facts and pure common sense. If the city has spent thousands of dollars on other economic studies, then I suggest you take into very consideration an economic study regarding what it is I am about to express here in this email/letter.


With the addition of the children’s occupied fountain and ‘splash pad’ that now has basically extended the Inn Street ‘tot lot” at the top of Inn Street all the way down to Orange leaf, due to the improperly utilized brick plaza that has now become even more an attraction for skateboarders and bicycles. I am afraid that the city, planners and backers of the fountain project have shot themselves in the foot once again when it comes to Inn Street, without regard to the safety of the children themselves, as well as long term ramifications to be felt for years to come.


The uniqueness, charm, peace, art and culture that once graced Inn Street in the beginning of its transformational era of the 70’s and 80’s and basically continued into the turn of the century, is now evaporating amidst the screeches and hollars of children set off every ten minutes to a timed explosion of fountain jet geysers.


If this wasn’t bad enough for business on Inn Street, now that I read about a hundred percent fee increase for TVL, on top of amendments that only make it more challenging to operate a non food, art based vending operation. I’m appalled at the continued lack of support from a city that prides itself as an ‘historical art and culture district’, when not one word, or change in support of the solo voice on behalf of all the potential for local art and craft based business operations. I’m even more appalled at having to watch what has become of the Inn Street due to its fountain project and its vast economic implications to the surrounding area, not to mention what should be the main priority,…the safety concerns regarding the children that have yet to be addressed. The other day I was watching and filming several children climbing the top of the piers while water flowed from the fountain. They stood on the top piers like ballerinas balancing on one foot (Yes, I have videos) while my heart skipped a beat thinking of the ramifications if they fell. What was worse was the parents that stood by in what seemed like approval. A few moments later a child got hurt while smacking his head on the granite slabs. Fortunately he walked away.


The next time he, nor the city, may be so lucky.


This project not only has created a poor economic outlook for the future of Inn Street, and thus, the city, but the possibility of a major liability case, as well as negligence, due to the lack of addressing the safety issues of those that have spoken on behalf of those concerned.


Mr. Eigerman, in a recent conversation regarding the Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival that is slated to debut during this years festival, you stated, ‘What happens on Inn Street has major implications for the downtown area and Newburyport itself”. You have also been aware and in possession of proposals and ideas that I have presented regarding Inn Street for the past five years, to everyone and anyone that would listen. In spite of overwhelming public approval in my experience and interactions, the community and city is still not listening. In this proposal I have provided an alternative vision for Inn Street, one that benefits not only an art and craft based vending operations for TVL, but takes into account an alternative plan for the fountain as a green viewing Garden Fountain. One that would enhance the aura and ambiance of Inn Street, not take away from it. It would also be more inclusive for everyone that visits Inn Street, especially the shoppers that contribute to the economic sustainability of the Inn Street Mall. This proposal contains a more sound economic, charming, unique perspective of Inn Street, one that would most certainly be more capable in elevating the current status of Inn Street as a ‘Jewel of Newburyport”. At very least, more so than a children’s splash pad, skateboard, and tot lot.


For this reason, as well as many others, I am moved to write you hear in hopes that you, or anyone else is listening now. There may be many that disagree with what I am saying here, and in all honesty I hope I am wrong, thus, my business benefits, But I can attest, by one that has operated in that area for the past ten years, you have made a drastic mistake in vision under the current trend. Whether you agree with what I am saying or not, at very least I implore you to do a viable economic study of the area, especially if what you say is true Mr. Eigerman, which I believe it is. You may be attracting more people to Inn Street, but it is not a demographic that is conducive to a majority of the surrounding business. I have spoken to and heard from the surrounding businesses. Has anyone else here other than those that were on the Inn Street Renovation project or New England Development? What I find most disturbing is the support of N.E.D.. You would think that those that have so much to gain from a beautiful ambiance for wedding parties at the Phoenix room, you would prefer a kids splash pad over a beautiful garden viewing fountain.


This current status is very similar to what happened on Inn Street last year regarding the MacDonald’s kiosk at Yankee Homecoming. This was described in a Newburyport daily News article here;


Inn Street Blues



This incident was virtually the ‘straw that broke the Yankee Homecoming corporate sponsored back on Inn Street” and served as a catalysts for major change for Yankee Homecoming with the creation of the Inn Street Artisans Revival. You may read more about this here.


Inn Street Artisan Revival Library Presentation



I believe the current status of the Transient Vending License issue within the confines of Inn Street, coupled with the Fountain and Splash Pad debacle, are serving this community once again as an opportunity, as the straw that broke Inn Streets back, and can serve as a positive catalyst for major reconsideration for change that must serve the community better as a whole. I believe the Artisans Market and Fountain Garden Proposal contained here in detailed links for years, and in print from many sources, including Mr. Eigerman, is one such way. You may read more about this here.


Inn Street Artisans Market and Garden Fountain Project

Pull a Brick, Plant A Seed



(Scroll down to Artisan Market

9-30-12 (Revised – 1-23-13)

Inn Street Artisan Market and Merchant Community Garden😉



In this years Yankee Homecoming Program book, the Inn Street Artisan Revival is described this way;


The Inn Street Revival has been promoted using several sources of links for dissemination of information, including a tribute to Jack Frost. In 2013, most people never heard of Jack Frost. Most still don’t. Lets hope after this years festival, that continues to change with more awareness generated by the Revival. You can read more about ‘Reviving the Appreciation of the arts and historical cultural components of the economic plan behind the creation of Yankee Home coming visions from the very beginning here.


As coordinator of the Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival, I have utilized the links below for most all marketing and promotions for the Revival. Three years ago, noone knew who Jack Frost was. Contained within one of the links below is the story of Jack Frost, and the honored opportunity I had in creating the 2013 Program Book for Yankee Homecoming. You may read about it here.


Tribute to Jack Frost



From Paul Swindlehurst, this years Yankee Homecoming chairman, from his opening letter in this years Program Book;


“It was Jack Frost who, in 1957, issued the call for people like you to connect and reconnect with beautiful cities throughout New England. Today, Newburyports Yankee Homecoming celebration stands as the second longest running homecoming festival in America.”


From an article in Yankee Homecomings Program Book.


The History of Yankee Homecoming by Glee Woodward


‘In 1958, the first year of Newburyport’s week long summer celebration, Yankee Homecoming, most of the citys factories and mills had closed, as well as downtown businesses, due to the economic climate. Storefronts were empty, and the federal initiative of ‘urban renewal” loomed large and threatened to demolish the bones of many communities.


In the meantime, New England Artist Jack Frost had launched a crusade to ‘Revive Appreciation” for the heritage and beauty of New England by bringing back natives and visitors to the regions towns and cities. His idea was to hold homecoming celebrations that would “share with others the many historical landmarks still standing.”


“It seemed that children and adults should be invited to see where history was made,” Frost wrote in the volume he published to promote this goal, Yankee Homecoming 1958. The National Pilgrimage Back East Where It All Began.’



Mr Eigerman, Mr Vogel, Mrs. Mayor, and all, I hope you are listening now, and if you had not heard of Jack Frost before, please learn from the lessons that the largest festival in the area has reflected back to all of us over the years and is reminding you once again within the Inn Street Artisans Revival. We must return to the origins of the visions of the visionaries that have given us the gift we cherish within our community today from the past.


It was the artist that first envisioned restoration and revival for the Inn Street Lofts and Market Square area in the 1970’s, not the contractors or politicians, the artist, that first began to restore the lofts on Inn Street on their own as an alternative to the initial plans to demolish the mill rows and replace them with a strip mall. It was also the artist that stood in front of the bulldozers that first took action to stop them.


Where would any of us be now if they never had taken those initial steps to stop and reconsider?


In the spirit of those artist, and the Spirit fo Newburyport,  I am asking you now to reconsider what you are once again doing to Inn Street and its implications on the city as a whole.


The artist vision of restoring lofts on Inn Street was the answer to the Transformation of Newburyport of yesterday.


The Inn Street Artisans Revival, once again realigning and reviving the original true message of utilizing local sustainable economics of Jack Frost,  is the answer to MacDonald’s and corporate sponsored entity’s during the Yankee Homecoming today.


An the Inn Street Artisans Market and expansion of the TVL, as well as the Merchant Community Garden Fountain Project Proposal, is the answer to the problems of Inn Street today,…and for the future.


Once again I implore you to push for a  feasibility and implementation study for these proposals in hopes of creating the ‘Jewel of Jewels of Newburyport’, the Inn Street Artisans Market and Merchant Community Garden Fountain project.


P.S. Oh, and just one last thing. Can anyone help me get some credit for the photograph that the city uses as its back drop on its license and permits page, as well as every one of its other web site pages? Permission would have been appreciated.



Thank you!




Best Regards,

John William Brown
Spirit of Newburyport
32 Water Street
Newburyport, MA 01950

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street
Artisans Revival Coordinator

Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival

Yankee Homecoming Chairman Plans New Events

Spirit of Newburyport Blog

Tribute to Jack Frost

Inn Street Blues

Inn Street Artisans Market

Newburyport; A Contemporary Perspective



——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Transient Vendors Licenses
From: “Councilor Bruce L Vogel” <bruce@vogelatlarge.com>
Date: Sun, July 03, 2016 8:30 pm
To: <bruce@vogelatlarge.com>
Cc: “‘Devlin, Joseph'” <jdevlinnbpt@gmail.com>, <gearls25@comcast.net>

Hello All,


All who were in attendance at the first committee meeting are copied in on this email –


First, pardon the delay in following up. Over the course of the last few weeks, I and the other committee members have been gathering information, thoughts and ideas and now have scheduled another meeting.


The committee meeting is scheduled for 5 PM, on Wednesday, June 6th, in council chambers.


There will be a few minutes spent on other items before us and then we will open the discussion on the TVL. We will use the attached draft language prepared by Councilor Eigerman as the basis for our discussion. It is not our intent to reach a point where will move the  ordinance from committee.


Please join us if you can and we welcome your feedback via email.


Open meeting laws do not allow me (or any member of the committee) from expressing our thoughts on the draft in this email so I will forward our notes from the meeting to you.


Thank you all for your interest and please contact us with your thoughts or questions.









Bruce L. Vogel

Newburyport City Councilor At Large

978-462-5463 (O)