BEVERLY — In making his pitch for the Brimbal Avenue interchange project, Mayor Bill Scanlon has said the road improvements could help to create up to 7,500 jobs and $8 million in annual tax revenue for the city.
Opponents of the project have criticized those numbers as an exaggeration, if not a total fabrication.
With a public hearing on a key part of the plan set to continue on Monday, Scanlon acknowledged that those figures are estimates, but also said they are based on sound projections.
“We feel that these are reasonable numbers,” he said.
The theory behind the Brimbal Avenue project is that, in addition to improving traffic flow and safety, it would open up acres of undeveloped land on both sides of Route 128 and spur additional development at existing businesses in the surrounding area.
According to figures the city provided for a traffic study on the project’s impact, all of the work could lead to the creation of 7,338 jobs from developments on 18 separate parcels of land in the area.
Neiland Douglas, a member of the city’s Economic and Community Development Council who helped to formulate the numbers, said the job projections were based on a comprehensive analysis of all of the properties in the affected area and conversations with many of the current land owners.
“It’s really very realistic,” Douglas said. “It’s not pie in the sky. (Scanlon) didn’t float these numbers from the hip pocket.”
A chart included in an environmental form filed by the city says the project would create 1,983 jobs at property on Dunham Road owned by Cummings Properties.
In coming up with that number, Scanlon said the city used a standard formula that projects the number of potential jobs per square foot of developable land.