The Salem News
---- — To the editor:
On Feb. 8, all Beverly citizens will have the chance to vote on a referendum question that will decide if the long-awaited traffic improvements at the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 interchange will move forward. I wanted to let Ward 4 residents, whom I represented on the City Council for many years, know why I think it is very important to vote “Yes.”
The outcome of this vote will have consequences that will affect more than traffic safety for Beverly. Supporting the rezoning question allows us to use a $5 million state grant to pay for these needed road improvements, which will open up land specifically zoned for development to generate much-needed commercial tax revenue for our city.
Why is increasing our commercial tax revenue so important to all of Beverly? Because residential taxpayers alone cannot meet the enormous financial burden of running our city. Serious health care and pension fund pressures already affect our city and school budgets. New commercial growth is essential to providing the resources we need to educate our children, keep our streets safe, fund our fire and police protection, provide services like the recreation department, libraries and senior center, and all the other things the city provides.
This referendum does not stop development on this industrial-zoned land. The property owner of the land between Sohier and Brimbal can and will build a retail type development on the land they own, or on the land they would receive if the rezoning and land swap go through to accommodate road improvements. The referendum addresses the city’s ability to effectively manage the traffic we all know will increase in that industrial zone over time.
I believe we need this kind of new, smart growth, to give us the best chance to move toward appropriate expansion of our tax base that will put us on sound financial footing for the future. I urge you to vote on Feb. 8 in support of the ballot question, a “Yes” vote is truly better for Ward 4 residents and all of Beverly.
Former Ward 4 city councilor