GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

April 29, 2013

The 'new balance' Gloucester needs

To the editor:

Jim Davis, owner of the New Balance shoe company and would-be developer of a high-end hotel at Pavillion Beach, seems to be employing some of the bread and circus strategy of ancient Rome’s political elite.

He has given half a million dollars for the rebuilding of Newell Stadium. However, he has been allowed to come up woefully short in the bread department.

With a requisite special permit, the City Council had total discretion on approval and conditioning of the hotel project, yet precious little bread was brought home to city coffers.

There was none of the substantial linkage funds that other communities have required from developers. Particularly glaring was the absence of any housing aid from a project that has already brought on heavy gentrification pressure to the Fort neighborhood. A city with already some of the highest sewer and water rates in the country and facing millions in capital expenditures for a crumbling, outdated system, can expect about the same $25,000 sewer hookup fee that we got from Sam Park’s mall.

When the project did not make the list for funds from a state program, our state representative used her clout to reverse the decision and obtained $3 million. The mayor then cobbled together another $2 million from various city funds to complement the state’s largesse.

Sadly, our public officials have presented a spectacle not unlike the behavior that could be expected from bellhops at a certain planned seaside hotel.

What Gloucester truly needs is a “new balance” in which officials who are paid by us pay us some of the attention that they have been reserving exclusively for the care and feeding of the mega rich.

STEVAN GOLDIN

Gloucester

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