Work to save The Pink House has involved many many people. These are well respected, well known professionals in their field. Many have worked with or been hired by the parties we were working with themselves, including Fish and Wildlife's Parker River Wildlife Refuge.
Most are local and all did it because they understand why The Pink House matters so much.
These people pushed aside income producing work, and gave advice, services, resources and hours and hours of their time PRO BONO to help this get done on behalf of all of the people who want to see it remain.
If that's not a significant vote for The Pink House's importance to this region, we don't know what is!
This does not mention the elected officials and many other organizations who have been included in countless meetings, phone calls, and emails with us over the last 8 years. What will it take to make FWS Realty and Refuge managers understand the consequences for our community in which they have their Visitors Center, run programs, keep a large reduce and ask for donations and volunteer help if they demolish it.
That November Full Moon ~ always bringing in the highest tides! Incredible how some areas seem to fill with all that surge... and others do not. Below is the launch at the Parker River Wildlife Refuge, just inside the gate. It's usually dry all the way to those two poles you see in the center. But yesterday, the water came right up to the road.
Many people are questioning recent statements by Fish and Widlife, who say this property floods as if it happens all the time or is a reason not to save the house and restore it. The The Pink House is in the AE FEMA Flood Zone, as are most of the homes around here and much of the Refuge. That same flood zone comes right up to the edge of the Refuge Visitor Center on the corner of Rolfe's Lane.
These photos were shot on the same day and time and the one of The Pink House below, clearly showing it's property as dry.
Many drove out to see it for themselves. Below is a another person that posted virtually the same angle of The Pink House on the same day.
The below shows The Pink House's comparatively higher ground all around the parcel during a regular high tide. By the way, what does it matter to FWS - or anyone - if there would soon be a new owner of house? We don't hear any talk about the homes across the way.
No civilian has been in The Pink House as often as the man on the left in the red shirt, Bill Barrett, HIC/CSL licensed owner of Plum Island Construction and Plum island Property Management. Bill did the first walk through of the house in early February 2016 on the community's behalf, to see how stable the house was before we began this work to save it, and reported she had good bones - no cracks in the foundation, all windows and walls straight, no leaks from the roof, confirmation it's on the PIOD (Newburyport water). Bill subsequently checked on the house many times a year, especially before and after significant storms. There was a 1.5 year break before and during early Covid when there was no manager, and the house suffered from negligence. But the house is still completely salvageable.
This photo is from what was to be the final walk through, on August 16, 2022: the month FWS set for closing.
Below is Bill's most recent letter of conditions of The Pink House, 60 Plum Island Turnpike, Newbury MA.
November 18, 2023
Evaluations, Observations and Suggestions for the property known as “The Pink House”.
My name is William Barrett, Owner of Plum Island Property Management. I am a retired home builder, remodeler and general contractor. Currently I am the owner of Plum Island Property Management. I help my customers evaluate property, obtain building permits for remodeling and new construction projects and manage their properties for them. I have been in the building and remodeling business for 49 years.
I have visited “The Pink House”, (TPH), on many occasions dating back to early 2016. I have evaluated and given opinions on the conditions of the building and the property in whole.
Below is a synopsis of my thoughts:
The last time I was on the property and in the house was in August of 2022.
My opinions, evaluations and observations of the building have not changed dramatically in those years.
It has been 7 years since I first looked at this property. I have volunteered my time to paint some areas and foam the openings and gaps due to rotting wood. The Fish and Wildlife personnel have done some minor repairs to the window openings and the 1 roof leak we detected. At our suggestion they have also cleared out the brush and shrubbery that had grown up around the building.
I would have to say that a lot more could have been done to keep the building in better condition. However, with that said the building is worth saving given its current condition and the fact that it is a historic and iconic symbol for the Plum Island area. It is a viable structure that can easily be restored to its past glory.
Anyone who actually understands construction would know what is in there is common to 75% of the houses around here and can easily be remedied without harming the environment or workers. And FWS knows this too. We have their reports. it is being overblown. And commenters who are not experts in the subject who inflate it even more are doing the community a grave disservice.
We've wanted Fish and Wildlife to clearly spell out their specific criteria for land swap to save The Pink House out to the public for a long time. Here, in one place, is criteria defined and explained.
FWS is looking for a willing landowner who will directly exchange their lands for the Pink House OR sell their lands to STPHs restoration partner, who would then exchange the land for the Pink House (to restore it).
YOU DO NOT NEED TO OWN THE PINK HOUSE TO EXCHANGE YOUR LAND.
If you have land anywhere in the country that fits the below criteria, you do NOT need to own The Pink House in exchange! Our Restoration Partner is available to buy your land to make you whole, then exchange it for The Pink House/acre. He intends to restore it on his own dime according to our perpetual preservation restriction. WIN WIN!!
HOW TO ASSESS VALUE:
Because they can’t sell the house/acre, they want to do a land trade: That means your land should be of roughly equal-value (i.e., $400,000+), and there can be a gap in which some cash can be added to make up the difference. They’d like it to be 10% or less but if the land is truly beneficial to their mission, whether the value is monetary, ecological, or usefulness, we have seen them willing to consider a bit higher cash gap.
Preferred is contiguous to or within a mile or two of a current Refuge anywhere in the US, as the crow flies. But it can also be anywhere they want to start a new Refuge (which they would know). So anywhere you have land to roughly fit their specifications should be sent in.
1. Salt marsh and/or adjacent upland habitats, access to water or a road, with equal or greater ecological value to FWS. Most marsh land is worth about $1000-1200 an acre, so meeting close to $400K is a lot of acreage.
2. Parcels of less acreage could be combined to get closer to the monetary value works. Parcels of higher monetary value due to being part or wholly upland, or having features such as water or road access works.
3. Upland in the price range that is near a Refuge or a location that may have value for a use like storing equipment near a light house they own, or rescue boats they can get to from a road to use in flood zones.
WHAT OF ACREAGE WITH A STRUCTURE?
FWS doesn't prefer it that but if the land is right, that can be demolished - by them or others. If can demolish The Pink House for tens of thousands of dollars, they should certainly consider prime land with a structure. It would just be better if it wasn't there.
HOW TO SUBMIT
Send any options to both FWS at email@example.com and us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. PLS talk to your neighbors, your town administrator and planner, your family adn friends near and far. You never know!
We've wanted FWS to put their specific criteria for land swap to save The Pink House out to the public for a long time. They said all options had been exhausted in their November 1 Press Release, website and reports and we said that's just not true. Because of the overwhelming response from the public (KEEP IT UP!) each week they list more and more specifics. Here was their last summary in case it makes the above easier:
A direct exchange with a willing landowner is the most likely path, but only if it meets requirements under federal law and is compatible with the refuge’s mission. For this to occur, the following conditions must be satisfied: (1) a landowner within 1-mile of refuge boundaries (2) the exchange lands must be of approximately equal monetary value to the 1-acre Pink House parcel ($400,000-$500,000), and (3) the exchange parcel must be of greater ecological value than the upland and marsh habitat on which the Pink House sits.
Support The Pink House board members were on the Local Pulse radio show with Joe DiBiase the other morning, answering his questions about the truth of the matter. Check out Episode 473, staring at 44:00 minutes in to hear some of the history of The Pink House from the woman who researched it all, Sandy Tilton, along with Kelly Page who talks about why Support The Pink House was created. Rochelle Joseph explains what everyone needs to know about what STPH has been working on behind the scenes for the last several years with FWS deals that fell through. And reveals how FWS said trading The Pink House/acre would be far more beneficial for their mission.
Our Support The Pink House Tree - called Preserving The Past, For Our Future -- is on display now at Sea Festival of Trees in Salisbury! And, it won an award for the "Best Tree for a Good Cause" at tonight's Gala!!
So many volunteers & donors pulled all this together to show support for our community & our neighbors: The Salisbury Beach Partnership, Inc. & Historic Carousel!! Ornaments, artwork, tee shirts, bows, lights, ribbon and the tree were donated, while other volunteers showed up to decorate. It takes a village!!
Make sure to enjoy the beautifully painted Pink House on Santa's mailbox - and write your letter to him asking for him to save The Pink House and why!
Such a huge honor, and the timing could not be more perfect. Please come down to see it and enjoy all the other wonderful trees and causes participating!
By Sandy Tilton, Board Member of Support The Pink House, photographer, author
So many of you are writing to Congressman Moulton and the FWS/Parker River Wildlife Refuge to tell them why you want to stop the demolition of The Pink House. And when you write, it's easy to cc: Senators Markey and Warren as well as your Rep Kassner or Rep Shande (if from their district).
While your letter should be all your own, in addition to writing what it means to you, you will increase your letter's power if you add compelling, value based reasons that fit your truth like:
WANT TO DO MORE?
Please "volunteer" by spreading the word on your social media from our website or social media, and by leaving any more ideas like the ones on this list in the comments for others to see and spark their own ideas. Thank you!
For much of the last 8 years, we at Support The Pink House (STPH) had been steered to keep quiet the details of our plan for the preservation and restoration of Plum Island's beloved and iconic Pink House and the agreement made with US Fish and Wildlife for land exchange. US Fish and Wildlife (FWS) and various stakeholders did not want to inform the public of our agreement. While not comfortable with that, we complied for the good of the project. We kept our focus on getting it done.
STPH has come so close to fulfilling our mission to save and restore the iconic Pink House under our perpetual Preservation Restriction on behalf of the tens of thousands of MA constituents who love the house and want to see it saved. This made Fish & Wildlife's sudden decision to not fulfill their part of the agreement in November 2023 and announcing a new plan for demolition of The Pink House more devastating than we could have ever imagined.
That being said, we can now share what the public deserved to know. Support The Pink House Inc. HAD completed all the steps necessary to make the house ready for trade by August 2022, and are still waiting for FWS’s part to complete the process.
Here is a list of STPH’s steps, funded by donors, including The Pink House Board:
ACCOMPLISHMENTS in 2021:
ACCOMPLISHMENTS in 2022:
Concurrently, Fish & Wildlife Division of Realty identified desirable land in their system, got it approved for trade, and informed STPH on July 6, 2022 that the swap land was ready. But by August 2022, the month we were to close, that land fell through. That was over one year ago.
STPH pursued meetings with FWS, who, in November 2022, asked for time to procure new land. To date, this has proved unsuccessful, and FWS has since paused their search as of March 2023.
THERE IS STILL HOPE! PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR HOW YOU CAN HELP SAVE THE PINK HOUSE & PRESERVE IT FOR POSTERITY!
Newburyport Magazine, out today in subscriber’s Newburyport Daily News, has a ‘Parting Shot’ of The Pink House, along with a great story by Lisa Powis of Newbury, MA.
The essay is testament to the many times we each may think “there’s nothing to see…” this article encourages you to go out anyway, because you never know until you get there what wonders you’ll find. In this case it was a raptor who flew to perch on the chimney of the Pink House - the highest viewpoint point for miles around.
Imagine what it looks like from inside the cupola - with it’s 360 degrees of uninterrupted views during sunrises, sunsets, high tides, storms, snows, rising moons and under the stars with very little light from any other source.
In a word, it’s MAGICAL!
You can also grab the issue at Jabberwocky Books in the Tannery on Water Street in Newubryport, MA.
Written by Kelly Page and Rochelle Joseph, Support the Pink House Board Members.
Wowsa! How can we thank the 100% of Newbury establishments on Plum Island for participating in the second annual Newbury Town Day yesterday? It's just another example of how truly wonderful this community is. All of them are owned and operated by locals — neighbors and friends. And because The Pink House could not participate like they can, each were kind enough to embrace a Pink House theme to what they offered: activities, discounts, special drinks and menu items.
Our social media is filled with videos and photos of Saturday's events, but for now, we just want to send all that love back to them. Please come on out to visit one of the more special parts of New England, give them your business, recommend them to friends and visitors, go on Trip Advisor, Google Maps, Yelp, etc to give them a great review, and follow them and participate on their social media.
Here's that list:
The Sunset Club
The Beach Coma
The Cottage Creamery
The Cottage and Surf Shop
Plum Island Provisions
Surfland Bait and Tackle
Ice Queens Plum Island
Mad Martha's Island Cafe
The Plum Island Grille
It takes a village to keep the unique charm and history of our area alive — a big reason we all have chosen to live here, and why so many who drive out to see The Pink House continue on to Plum Island to eat, drink, shop, rent and stay and enjoy the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge!