SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 13, 2013

Letter: Salem Chamber backs senior center plan

To the editor:

This letter is written in support of the proposed bonding for Salem’s new senior center, and on behalf of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, I am writing to ask the City Council to move the senior center project forward without further delay.

Developing the new Gateway Center at the location of the former GTE Sylvania site in the form of a public-private partnership is good for the city ($400,000 in property tax revenue, redevelopment of a blighted site); is good for Salem’s current and future senior citizens (a brand-new senior center); is good for the economy in general (construction jobs, new commercial space and opportunities, and permanent employment opportunities); and, yes, is good for the developer, who will be able to build the new Gateway Center and, hopefully for the developer, have a positive return on that investment.

The Gateway Center project is a more-than-$30 million complex that will generate new annual tax revenue to more than offset the annual cost of the bond, making the new center affordable to taxpayers. In 2009, the mayor and City Council reached an agreement on building the new Senior/Community Life Center at the corner of Bridge and Boston streets. Replacing the original plan to use federal bonding with the current plan to use traditional bond financing should not result in restarting a discussion about the location of the senior center.

We hope the Salem City Council agrees with Mayor Driscoll and votes to approve the bonding.

Rinus Oosthoek

Executive Director

Salem Chamber of Commerce

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