To the editor:
Tuesday, I plan to vote “yes” for the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in Salem. My reasons are simple. Every time that I take an early morning walk to the Salem Common, I am distressed to see the poor condition of the Common fence. If we had the CPA, the fence could be fixed. When I look out my office window and see the scaffolding surrounding City Hall, I’m reminded that if we had a CPA, the city of Salem would not have to bear the full $2 million cost of this renovation because we could have some state matching funds. And when I go to the city of Peabody, I see the benefits that adopting the CPA in 2001 have brought to this neighboring community — the historic renovation of the George Peabody Library, the development of the Leather Museum and the acres of new open space that the city has purchased and improved — Tilley’s Farm, Sidney’s Pond and the Zielski property, to name a few.
Any tax — even if it is only $30 (or in my case it will probably be twice this) — is difficult to vote for, but I believe that the benefits from the CPA are worth it. If we adopt it, we will get back more than we give. We will get state matching funds and probably more commercial real estate taxes because the city will be an even more desirable place for businesses. Even more important, we will see improvements in our community and in our quality of life — from bike trail development to historic preservation — a lot more is possible if we adopt the CPA. I’m going to vote “yes” and I hope that you will too.
The author is executive director of the Essex National Heritage Commission.