We need a comprehensive traffic analysis and plan. We need a public commitment to underwrite strategic road improvement projects as part of the city’s Capital Program. We need a public commitment which is sympathetic to planned economic and community development which provides the revenue to support a capital program and operating budget. Anything short of such a commitment will surely usher in a very uncertain and politically divisive future as the shortage of revenue reduces governmental process to the full measure of public sentiment to support educational versus safety versus recreational versus utilities versus health and maintenance programs. The city cannot afford to signal its inhospitality to planned economic and community development as such occurred during the 1980s leaving the city near bankruptcy.
It is perhaps fitting at this interval, now 50 years since the tragic death of President John F. Kennedy, to be reminded of his foresight and passion for the future of our nation, speaking at his inauguration:
“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
As we vote on this zoning measure, I would hope we can do so with a clear understanding of the stakes which will mark its possible future outcome.
Neiland J. Douglas is the former vice chairman Economic and Community Development Council of Beverly.