On the other hand, he offers assurances to those concerned that it could negatively impact businesses in the park and the roughly 500 people who work there. “The businesses there will be maintained,” said Mello. “If they’re already there, they’re grandfathered in.”
Both Surman and Busta agree that the industrial park has been a burden on its neighbors, and they contradict park advocates who say that the park predates the arrival of nearby homes. The site was used originally by the A.C. Lawrence leather company.
“There have been houses that predate the park,” said Surman.
When the park was farmland, said Busta, there was a home nearby. “I don’t know how we became a truck route,” she added. “We were just a country road.”
One thing that’s helped, she said, is that the city repaved Pulaski Street, eliminating a lot of the noise made by big rigs bouncing over potholes. But the fix has meant that the traffic is moving faster than ever.
Busta worries that some of the businesses in the park have been poor citizens, operating when they shouldn’t be and even dumping trash into the river.
“They don’t follow the rules the city and council has told them to abide by,” Surman alleged.
He complains that some truckers use the park as a place to rest, “and they run their engines all night. That’s not a truck stop.”
Mayor Ted Bettencourt plans to call a meeting of residents and neighbors to discuss the issue. For his part, Mello hopes to discuss it at a meeting of the council’s human services subcommittee tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.