SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

January 18, 2014

Letter: Whole Foods would be a boon for Beverly

To the editor:

I am writing this letter to urge Beverly residents to come out and vote “yes” at the Feb. 8 Brimbal Avenue referendum. By voting yes, we will get the Whole Foods plaza, and we will get the $5 million to move the Route 128 connector road and eliminate the existing, unsafe roadway that the state Department of Transportation has ranked an “F” in terms of safety.

There are some residents on Brimbal Avenue who have expressed concern about this development. However, their strenuous efforts to stop planned road improvements and a Whole Foods Market seem misguided and contrary to their own interests, as well as the interests of their fellow Beverly residents.

Before we moved to Beverly, we saw firsthand the substantial generosity and vigor in which our neighborhood Whole Foods store supported local nonprofit organizations, from the food bank to the little-known neighborhood shelters serving homeless women and children. You can see their support in local soup kitchens to adult literacy all through the state.

I have learned that Whole Foods will give at least 5 percent of its profits every year to Beverly non-profits and schools. That is incredible. Whole Foods has already identified Beverly Bootstraps as an ideal partner to support (financially, with food donations and with resources) and has already committed to donating a salad bar to a Beverly school, to encourage healthy eating at a young age. On the North Shore, Whole Foods has already given support to the Women’s Fund of Essex County, the Natural Living and Learning Center at the Beverly Athletic Club, St. John the Evangelist School, Northeast Arc, YMCA of the North Shore, Ayers Ryal Side PTO and the Beverly School for the Deaf, among many others.

This support is just a drop in the bucket compared to what could be coming for Beverly. Once Whole Foods has a store in Beverly, there will be dozens of organizations that will receive financial support from Whole Foods. I’m convinced that Whole Foods offers an extra bonus to neighbors: the convenience of a Whole Foods Market anchoring a plaza that includes one or two good restaurants will likely raise the values of nearby homes.

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