, Gloucester, MA

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May 8, 2013

My View: Time to set aside differences over hotel

Tuesday night, under the provisions of our zoning ordinance, this City Council completed work on an important economic development project: the rebirth of the Birdseye site as the home of Beauport Gloucester Hotel.

It is a project that will bring new life to both our downtown and our community as a whole, and its approval has been painstakingly won.

It is the product of literally years of discussion and review by several city councils as well as the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission. It brings to fruition hundreds of hours of public meetings and hearings, the work of entrepreneurs with a dream and the capacity to realize it, and the visioning efforts of three Gloucester mayors. It captures a widely held belief that Gloucester desperately needs a year-round, business-class hotel and conference facility, and it reflects a broadly shared community sense that the Fort needs to more fully realize its potential as an economic engine.

We city councilors have been challenged by some in our support of this project, but I genuinely believe we have made the right decision for Gloucester’s future allowing the Beauport Hotel to proceed.

Now, those who have fought this project face a challenge of their own. The council’s adoption of this final decision and its filing in the Registry of Deeds triggers a new appeal opportunity for those who seek to oppose or delay the construction of the Beauport Hotel.

Will they exercise their right to pursue that appeal, or will they engage the obligation of every citizen to join in the common cause of advancing our community?

I hope they will move on from their opposition and focus instead on the promotion of investor-ready economic opportunities for other waterfront sites that have sat too long unused. But if they do not move on and instead continue to oppose, I hope every member of this community will challenge them in their opposition and hold them accountable for its consequences.

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