This empty propaganda piece in the Daily News just reinforces what I was saying (and showing statistically) in my original piece, “Why dark siders are delusional”. By the way, the reason behind the name being changed to a ‘business park’ because office complexes are now zoned to be allowed in part of the area.
Now I don’t enjoy being the wet blanket when it comes to our ‘business park’ but when dark siders use it to replace our powerful eco-and heritage tourism infrastructure; it becomes necessary. Also just because a ship is sinking does not mean we should leap aboard and cheer!
First of all, the ‘park’ is not a park. It’s a disaster site* waiting to happen. This area should have been left as open space and as farm pasture – it is on a flood plain for the Little River and its tributaries. Those culverts, ravines and swales are there to slow the disastrous affect of floods in the Common Pasture. Our early forefathers had enough sense to build on dry land and send their cattle out to graze on the unbuildable land. Bixby International’s building should never have been built – and only the pressure by a group of dark siders to ignore the obvious caused it to be located in its present position. Sure enough, the costs of flood damage have translated into over a million dollars. This means the present occupant is paying huge insurance and liability costs. And what of other businesses stuck in the path of the flood waters?
Then they have the nerve to want to get rid of the very things that mitigate property damage? N.A.I.D. built this huge flood-control enclosure next to the Little River – at times, it has simply filled up and overflowed – it can not hold the powerful affects of water power. (It’s presently damaged and won’t even function properly now!) The fact is they will have to spend more on bigger everything to stave off the floods. FEMA’s solution? Build higher roads. Ugh!
Second, the formula for commercial businesses are a good one ON PAPER. Unlike residential, where the City (and the taxpayers) have to spend three to four times the cost of each new house on infrastructure, businesses are a wonderful plus – they contribute to a positive influx to our tax rolls. But we are too close to New Hampshire which is very pro-business – and we’re too far away from Boston and the global economy is pushing for light industry overseas. The best we can do is lure a Massachusetts company to move from one over-regulated community to our over-regulated community. Our passive one-tax rate is our ‘lure’.
Third, many of our major clients in the business/industrial park do not pay into our tax structure because they were lured by TIF’s which exempt them from paying taxes. Rochester Electronics and a couple others threatened to leave if they didn’t get this program included. N.A.I.D. used to tout jobs feeding on old timer’s memories of the factories with their armies of workers but only a tiny minority of the work force out there actually support locals. If you don’t believe me, take a drive during the work week on the different roads out there and see who’s walking about.
Fourth, we are about to lose one of our major players, L3 is going to send their work force to another Massachusetts community where they are building a new facility. See the percentage of tax-revenue from the park go down in two years.
I’m saying all this because the CleanTech Center maybe our best hope but it has a tough climb to accomplish it. As long as the state and feds pump assistance money into the ‘green’ industry, they may have a chance but I certainly would not bet Newburyport’s future on it.
Our tax-base and our future is on eco- and heritage tourism. We should be investing in brick sidewalks, colonial lamps, LHD-zoning, historic preservation principles and on tourism initiatives.
Since the gambling industry is all the rage right now, let’s just say it, “DON’T BET ON THE WRONG HORSE!”
* I don’t want to overwhelm this post with too many flood pictures – I’ll post them on a separate submission.
PS. The paper is wrong – Newburyport Area Industrial Development still exists as a non-profit entity. Its commercial side has been disbanded. It should be used to pursue grants.