Long before any of us were here, decisions were made concerning the waterfront.
Business, profit and employment were the impetus. Many generations of Salemites have lived with the results of those decisions.
More than 175 years later the main legacy of those who built the waterfront industries has been Shetland Park, the mess that is the North River, and the smokestacks of the power plant.
It would seem that the third leg of that industrial triad is soon to be a thing of the past.
There are few in Salem who do not have an opinion on what has transpired over the last few years in regards to the 60-acre site on Fort Avenue. No one loves it. Many love the jobs and tax revenue that it has generated. Lots of folks truly hate it. Some who hate it do so sincerely. Others have more selfish reasons for their hate.
My feelings put me into both the love and hate camps.
Having grown up seeing those smokestacks in the distance and using them as a landmark they do provide a certain visual comfort. Being smart enough to understand the environmental and health concerns that come with them I also have learned to detest them.
John Keenan and other elected officials have worked hard to protect our interests as Dominion turns the property over to Footprint Power. Keenan overreached in his attempt to guarantee some revenue for Footprint through long term energy contracts, but you can't blame a guy for trying. In the end his energy bill passed.
It would seem that the talking part is just about over.
Footprint Power as a new entity in our lives needs to make themselves visible and vocal in the community. Show us who you are and what you are about. Give us a face to associate with the corporate logo.
John Keenan, Mayor Driscoll, and the city councilors must continue to advocate to ensure that what has been announced actually takes place. When 2017 rolls around the people will be expecting results.
Those of you who envisioned theme parks with roller coasters, casinos, ball fields and other such things are certainly disappointed — dreamers often are. All of those things, with the exception of a casino would be wonderful additions, but reality is more often than not the slayer of dreams.
We have been promised a demolition and cleanup. State aid has also been pledged to make up for lost tax revenue until 2019. Footprint plans to build a natural gas plant.
I am looking forward to seeing all parties actually walk the walk.