Salem Approves Lowes Project as Expected

January 25, 2011
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The city of Salem’s approval of the Lowes development on Highland Avenue is a fait accompli.

All the complaining this city wants to do will not reverse the approval.

There may be temporary injunctive relief the city can seek in court and for a while, the development might be stopped.

In the end, however, the development will move forward.

It will move forward because of two reasons.

First, the city failed to make its case with Salem in the first instance.

Second, the mayor’s office was and is ineffectual when it comes to protecting the residents and homeowners on the Lynn side of the project.

Everything in this city begins and ends with the mayor’s approval or rejection.

From the very start, the mayor has failed to make a strong enough impression on Salem officials that this project will not be allowed to go forward.

In the name of Lynn, the mayor should have busied herself with requiring Salem to deliver a major quid pro quo in return for the project going forward.

Instead, valuable time was lost. Residents of this area mainly fought for themselves.

The development will come to fruition.

It will be of great value to Salem’s city treasury and none to ours.

About the only benefit this development will bring to Lynn is putting to work hundreds of laborers, carpenters, steel workers and tradesmen of all kinds during the building phase.

That will be followed by hundreds of new jobs for Lynners, who live with one of the highest unemployment rates in the city.

So all is not lost for residents of this city.

What is lost for the mayor is the support by and large of the residents of this area of Highland Avenue.

To a person, they feel defeated and deserted.

Then again, progress on Highland Avenue has turned the near entirety of it beginning at the Lynn/Salem line and stretching all the way down to the old Salem High School, into an economic miracle.

Those of us who grew up in the area 40 years ago recall it as an empty backwater wasteland.

Today, it is a booming, busy, heavily trafficked roadway and commercial avenue.

The new Lowes isn’t going to ruin Lynners’ quiet and peace.

That was ruined years ago.

Now is the time for city officials to bargain with Salem officials for something real in return for the further loss of peace and quiet, and for the increased traffic, which is destined to change the way of life on this part of Highland Avenue forever.

If this issue were scored as a baseball game, it would be Salem 15, Lynn nothing.

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