SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

February 6, 2014

Our view: Vote 'Yes' on Brimbal Avenue

(Continued)

So now the city has two options: rebuild the access road where it is now, or move it across CEA Group property, as the land swap would allow.

We agree with Mayor Michael Cahill, who believes it is important to keep both options on the table.

In a column on these pages Jan. 29, Cahill said “Since we have two road designs and both need to be further explored to determine their viability or ‘buildability’ in order to keep both options alive and available to the city, I cannot agree with the assertion that a ‘No’ vote is best for our city. Beverly needs the traffic safety improvements and economic development this project can bring, and we need to keep our options open regarding which possible road design to present to the state.”

Cahill is right — Beverly needs the economic development the project would bring. Smart development adds to the city’s tax base and contributes to better schools, safer roads, improved public safety and a more reasonable burden on taxpayers.

The city has been in this position before. It was former Mayor Bill Scanlon who led efforts to turn the former Shoe factory into the still-growing Cummings Center, turning a rundown, essentially abandoned complex generating $160,000 a year in property taxes into what it is today — a 2.3 million-square-foot office park that generates more than $2.3 million a year in tax revenue for the city.

This is the type of transformation that allows cities to make giant leaps forward — without the taxpaying contributions of the Cummings Center, for example, the city would not have been able to afford to build its new, state-of-the-art high school, renovate its elementary schools or even consider a new middle school. These are benefits enjoyed citywide, not in a single neighborhood.

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