To the editor:
I read with interest the Salem News article of Sept. 15 (“Footprint, National Grid funds will upgrade Derby Street area”) as well as “Meet Derby Neighborhood Envision 2020.” According to the quote of Mayor Driscoll, “the money is intended to improve the neighborhood immediately affected by those projects once the work is complete.” If you want to see immediate impact, see the work on Forrester Street. Please also recall the extensive work done on Hawthorne Boulevard, Washington Square East and the ongoing work at lower Essex. I challenge you to get home if you live in my area.
If I may be so bold as to suggest that the Salem Common area has been most severely impacted by these projects. The dust, dirt on everything (homes, cars) is unbelievable and then there are the rats. Yes, for real, rats and lots of them. The bird bath needs to be cleaned every day because of the mud at the bottom of it.
Yes, the cables on Derby Street will be removed but that is minor compared to what we are seeing here and throughout the city. I think of the Salem Common fence, which is a shameful state of disrepair, and the rotting McIntire Arch, as areas of significant historical interest going back 400 years. Will any funding be directed to these areas? Or is it just Derby Street?
The Envision Group includes Ward 1 Councilor Bob McCarthy and David Knowlton among others, including the Historic Derby Street Neighborhood Association. Knowlton states, “It’s better to get them in early to get consensus.” I want to know where my ward councilor, Heather Famico stands on this? Is Ward 2 included since we are bearing the brunt of this project? I am not trivializing the impact on others, whose homes have literally shook from the Footprint construction project. I fully appreciate what they are going through also because I know them.
Truthfully, these projects have tied up all of Salem from Fairfield Street to Webb. We will all be better off when they are completed without a doubt. However, the impact extends well beyond one ward and this should be acknowledged by the city and companies involved.