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October 24, 2013

Ward 2 race puts foes in opposite roles

Of all the contested races on the Gloucester Election Day ballot this year, only one represents a rematch.

That is the renewed battle to represent Ward 2, where former City Councilor Ann Frontiero Mulcahey is challenging incumbent Councilor Melissa Cox for the seat, each in a role reversal of where she sat two years ago.

Mulcahey, 70, won the seat in 2009 when longtime City Councilor John “Gus” Foote declined to run after serving for more than three decades.

But in 2011, Cox, now 39, challenged and ousted then-incumbent Mulcahey in a race that centered in large part on differences over a hotel overlay zone that has since gained approval and opened the doors to planned Beauport Gloucester LLC hotel project on the former Birdseye site in the city’s Fort neighborhood, where Mulcahey lives.

This time around, both agree that continuing to upgrade Burnham’s Field, which sits at the heart of the ward, would be a priority, but the candidates share different views on a variety of other topics, including the city-owened I-4, C-2 waterfront property.

During last week’s Gloucester Times debate, Mulcahey said believes the city should now seek to remove I-4, C-2, as a taxpayer-bought property, from the state’s Designated Port Area development limits, while Cox opposes that move, and voted accordingly earlier this fall.

Cox, meanwhile, said she would focus on the Designated Port Area boundary review, finding a solution the I-4,C-2 site within the DPA, finishing the first steps of the Burnham Field revisioning process and updating the city’s harbor plan.

“Just because you can’t find the one puzzle piece you are looking for, doesn’t mean you should throw out the whole puzzle,” she said. “At least we are collecting revenue.”

The city is now using the site as a paid parking lot. And Cox said the revenue stream a good first step, while not cannibalizing the rest of paid parking in the city.

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