I am enthusiastically and vigorously supportive of increasing the availability of land for industrial development in Northfield.
I support the recommendation of the EDA’s consultant, TIP Strategies, for making an additional 120 acres available for industrial use. Although these same consultants suggested that 120 acres could be found in Northfield’s existing inventory of in-fill and redevelopment opportunities, I am supportive of former EDA member and local real estate professional Paul Smith’s advice that two 30 acre and one 60 acre parcels of clear, undeveloped greenfield be added to Northfield’s land inventory.
I am supportive of securing this land in a manner that is as quick and affordable as is practical. More importantly, I am supportive of securing land that can get leverage from our existing infrastructure of water, sewer, roads, and amenities. Perhaps most important of all, I am supportive of this new industrial land providing additional economic leverage to our existing business base of restaurants, retail, and services.
I am not supportive of developing land 3 ½ miles from our existing commercial districts and 3 ½ miles from the interstate. I am not supportive of spending tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to create new infrastructure. I am not supportive of developing a site for almost 600 hundred units of housing, over a hundred units of hotel rooms, almost 100,000 square feet of retail space, and over 700,000 square feet of office space.
I have tried hard to be convinced by this Master Plan for the Northwest Territory. I so much wanted to believe in this vision that has been enthusiastically, vigorously, and richly supportive by a handful of our leaders. When the EDA hired a P. R. professional to work with some of these leaders on guest columns, I really hoped I’d be convinced. However, those guest columns just raised my concerns and sharpened my doubts.
Let me be clear about two things. First, the beliefs expressed in my responses to the guest columns are completely and solely my own. My employers, my family, and my bandmates probably don’t agree with some, maybe most, of my thoughts. Second, I was not paid by anyone to write these pieces, nor was any professional hired to assist me in their creation, and, finally, they were all produced on my own time, at my own expense, at night and on weekends, and thus may lack the polish of professionally produced pieces.
Perhaps some of you can help convince me that the Master Plan for the Northwest Territory is a good idea. In fact, I’d really appreciate it. It would be great to to lose my concerns and be able to heart cheer on this ambitious quest.