Growth in Southwestern Central MA (to be specific)! With or without a casino! Hurray! Finally, the anguish over watching our region decline can end. This is such good news.
Some Shearer and Thorndike Street [Palmer] residents have been approached by a Northeast Realty consultant who wants them to sell their homes for future off-site development regardless of whether Mohegan Sun opens a resort casino across from Massachusetts Turnpike Exit 8.
[Northeast Realty’s community liaison, James L] St. Amand said homeowners are being asked to give Northeast an option to purchase their properties within the next year or two. He said the offers are above market value.
Of course, EmmaLadd Shepherd, of Monson, co-president Quaboag Valley Against Casinos, is “very concerned over this.” She finds the whole thing appalling. Sorry, EmmaLadd, growth is not appalling. This is appalling:
The [Palmer] School Committee hammered out its $15 million fiscal 2010 budget during a marathon meeting Wednesday, cutting tennis and swim programs, imposing bus fees, increasing athletic and parking fees and restoring some employees slated to be laid off.
Reviewing the list of cuts – 26 teachers, 13 paraprofessionals and four aides – School Committee Chairwoman Mary A. Salzmann said, “This is insane.”
While the fighters against growth will continue their condemnation, those with an understanding that community growth means community health will continue to march on and allow Exit 8 on the Mass Pike drive our region into an expanding, inviting place for new businesses to plant their foundations. The possibilities are profound. I can envision healthy schools and healthy local economies, as well as increased tax dollars heading to local and state governments. And there is still the hope that rail service will resume in Palmer. If everything moves along as we can only hope it will, this south central region of Massachusetts can become a bustling district that will help to bring economic and fiscal health back this great state.
OH please, let it happen.