, Salem, MA

February 5, 2014

Letter: No need for land swap

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I respectfully have to disagree with many of our former and current political leaders and urge the citizens of Beverly to vote “No” for the land swap.

Recently it was revealed to the public that the state Department of Transportation had serious concerns regarding the extra work and costs associated with constructing a road over a former city dump. According to the Department of Transportation and Jacobs Engineering, the city can obtain the needed connector road improvements for less money and without moving the road a mere 400 feet onto land that was a former dump and Phase I and II can still take place. Shouldn’t our city and state officials have determined the costs to clean up this land prior to pushing for a land swap?

All the citizens of Beverly should be thankful to the North Beverly Neighborhood Association for bringing the details of this land swap to our attention. As more details of this project have come out, it appears to be a sweetheart deal for the developer. CEA Group purchased this land many years ago, has done nothing yet to clean it up, and now wants to “dump” it on the taxpayer with the backing of city leaders. No wonder the city never met with the neighbors when working out the details of the land swap, because they knew the swap wouldn’t pass the smell test. And now for many to continue to support this land swap before these cost issues are settled is beyond belief. If CEA isn’t willing to pay $5 million, or whatever the final cost will be, then this should be the end of the land swap debate. Doing the road and safety improvements on the current site of the connector road is the most prudent and responsible course of action for Beverly. Contrary to what some believe, the land swap is not better for Beverly. Again, vote “No” on Feb. 8.

Tom Holak