The Detroit Water Project empowers anyone in the world to pay delinquent water bills of Detroit residents. It uses the internet to pair strangers together. It’s like a Kickstarter campaign but rather than funding a project you’re directly helping a resident in need.
The Washington Post wrote about the project last fall — and I think its genius.
I think the concept should be mimicked on Plum Island. As most of my readers know, the barrier island received a record snowfall this winter. It wasn’t the total amount of snow that mattered but that we had blizzard after blizzard after blizzard in such a short amount of time. This caused streets across the city to be unplowed for weeks, intersections to be obstacles for cars turning corners, and PI residents to experience sewer backups. Because the exterior vacuum vents were covered in snow, air couldn’t move in the sewer pipes and the sewerage got backed up until it overflowed from where it came. Yuck.
I don’t know if and/or when and/or how much the mayor will ask the city council to pay PI bills. I’m aware that the city helped over 100 families stay in hotel rooms and that city staff and contractors worked 16+ hour days to fix the pipes and clear the vents.
I wonder if an internet tool such as the Detroit Water Project could be used here, telling the world about the city and the unique sewerage issues we experienced, and asking the world to help families get back on their feet. It’s great that local banks and philanthropic organizations are helping pay bills; but I hope I’m not alone in thinking that Newburyport shouldn’t pay its own bills. Similar to Kickstarter, let’s create a kick-ass online campaign and ask the citizens of the world to help out the citizens of Plum Island (and alleviate the limited pursestrings of Newburyport City Hall at the same time).