Thursday, August 5, 2010

Salem, A City With a Plan Compared to Lynn, A City Whose Leaders Are Not Following One

Phelan and the City Council, listen for once. Read this article from the Boston Globe. There are some great quotes in here from your boss.

Big thank you to Susan Halter from LynnArts for forwarding this to me this morning.

A comparison of a city with a plan, Salem, to a city who refuses to follow one, Lynn.  There is nothing that is false in this article. It makes it clear that even with the failures of our past, Lynn is starting to fix those and it is building up the residential base that will help build out your downtown (That is if you don't take over all the space with medical services first).

It does makes you (Phelan and the City Council) and the decision makers of the past 30 years look kind of dumb. Granted, there was some bad luck involved, but the reality is bad development decisions and too many sweet deals for the non-profits that are sucking up a majority of our space. $30K in revenue to the city from all of these nonprofits? Mayor Driscoll has 125K from one non-profit coming into Salem coffers yearly.  Read the article.Ward 5 Councilor forced a payment in lieu of taxes from All Care, which will boost that 30K number up a tiny bit next year and I think double it by year 3. Hurrah! More!

Where is our City Planner???? We don't have one!!!!! It hurt us in the 70s, it destroyed us in the 80s, it helped to inform bad decisions in the 90s and showed our living in the past attitude in 2000. In 2010, we finally need to solve this. City Planner on payroll, immediately. Salem has an entire organization devoted to redevelopment. A focused, clear, plan, that they execute on year by year. It works. It was eye opening to me how exactly Salem cemented the Halloween tourism and helped PEM to expand. Very successful strategy, not just the history that occured there.

Our Mayor, Judith Flanagan Kennedy, has some great quotes in this article, and I was happy to see her standing behind everything that is in place. We do have a strong base and a lot of things are in place, I will agree with that. We should not be complacent though. In today's Item, Jim Cowdell and EDIC put their crosshairs on Hawthorne's property. That family should be ashamed of themselves, basically holding that plot of land over Downtown Lynn's head during it's best chance at renewal in a long time. I really hope the EDIC team with the support of the City Council and Mayor's Office gets that property away from that family once and for all. I wish the dad were still alive. He'd have done something by now. Everyone who cares about Downtown Lynn should stop eating at the Anthony's chain of restaurants until there is a plan for this site that the family has agreed to.

Salem and Lynn have so much in common. The latest similarity being that we now both have intelligent, powerful, focused leaders in Mayor Kim Driscoll and Mayor Judith Kennedy. Salem has been Common Cause (Open Government) for a while and they just recently completed their Salem-wide citizen survey. In Lynn, our ears are open, our city government is starting to open up, but there is still a lot of work to do and things in City Hall that need to change for this Downtown dream to get a better comparison to Salem in the next article from the Boston Globe.



  1. I have two reactions to the article:
    1) Depressed - Ugh! Am I ever going to see Lynn become what I want it to become before I am ready to retire??
    2) Motivated - To kick some butt and get people and our city moving in the right direction.

  2. The difference. Former mayor would have responded "No comment" or not answered the phone at all when the Globe reporter called. You have to combine this with the current progress on Waterfront and the EDIC's new revived attention on our Downtown Gateway and then Number 2 will win over on your reactions.

  3. Cory, I like your upbeat attitude. Mayor Kennedy is on par with Mayor Driscoll. During the past three years, I've been involved with Lynn's gearing up for its Downtown development and progressive urban design for the Waterfront Development Plan. We need a regional plan, so that adjacent cities and towns can co-exist and cooperate.

  4. It's Warren (again). Mayor Kennedy, you are the best ... the reason why I voted Republican (for you) for the first (and probably last time in my life). Bravo!

  5. Warren,
    Amen. I vote for who is going to do the better job. Especially with a Mayor, it's about getting it done, and it's about common sense. It has nothing to do with political party at this local a level. Mayor Kennedy has what it takes. If I have my way, you will be voting Republican again in a few years, when we put Judy in for her second term.



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