SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

January 29, 2014

Column: I will vote ‘yes’ on Feb. 8

(Continued)

At the same time, the CEA Group has offered to fund the cost of ensuring the structural integrity of the new access road if a solution can be identified that the state will accept and the CEA Group will legally commit to fund. MassDOT and my administration have made clear that neither the state nor the city would bear these costs, and only if the CEA Group commits to funding would this design of the road be buildable.

In other words, there are now two possible designs for the new access road in play (build within existing road footprint or on CEA Group property), and neither one is assured yet of being buildable.

Will the city receive the $5 million state MassWorks grant to build the road? Much has been said and written about the $5 million Mass Works grant awarded to the city by the state Department of Housing and Economic Development. Please know this. The grant was awarded to the city because state officials believe this infrastructure project will facilitate and lead to significant new economic growth throughout the corridor (which includes Sohier Road, Tozer Road, Beverly Hospital, Dunham Road, Brimbal Avenue and Otis Road). This grant does not depend on any one specific parcel of land being developed a certain way — i.e., the grant award does not depend on the CEA Group developing on one parcel versus another, nor whether its development would include a Whole Foods market or not.

However, our receipt of the $5 million grant funds does depend on two things:

— We propose a buildable road to the state — if MassDOT will not approve our road design, the Department of Housing and Economic Development will not give us the money.

— The road improvements (taken together with Phase ll) will lead to significant new economic growth throughout the corridor.

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