, Salem, MA


January 24, 2014

Column: Reflecting on the Brimbal Avenue development plans


Commencing in 2008, it was clear that the stagnation of our economy and the concern for new job formation was to be an absorbing agenda of the ECDC. To this end, it was determined that the most significant opportunities for job formation in Beverly would be centered on the Route 128 corridor with a specific focus upon Brimbal Avenue, Sohier Road, and Route 128. The prospects for attractive job formation as may be embraced within all sectors of the Beverly economy would be largely located in this area. While the ECDC understands the relative importance of the manufacturing sector, we remained equally committed to the formation of jobs in the service sectors, including health, education, professional service, retail business, entertainment and hospitality enterprise. These sectors, while not reporting the highest wages, are after all the very heartbeat of a waterfront or Main Street renewal strategy.

As the economy sank deeper into recession, it was clear that the improvement of our road and transportation system would be vital to any realistic prospect for a sustained economic recovery for the city and the region. A plan for the reconstruction of Brimbal Avenue, Sohier Road and Route 128 thus became an absorbing task by 2010. The time involved with state funding sources and job generators in this area escalated to nearly immeasurable levels over the past three years. The ECDC and city leadership were determined to support the growth and stability of cell signaling technology, communication and power Industries, Symmetricon lnc., Northeast Health Systems, (the city’s largest employer and now Lahey Health), and the tenancies of Santin Enterprises serving Enzymatic Corporation and Symmetricon lnc. Further, the initiatives of Cummings Properties and the resurgence of North Shore Music Theatre all combined to represent a very significant opportunity to stabilize the city’s economy and valuation base well into the foreseeable future. Absent these development opportunities or the deferral of their initiation simply assures the continuation of a fragile and uncertain economic and fiscal future for the city.

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