What economic development topics should the OCM look into?
Jam session is an opinion forum offering comments on issues from a group of Plymouth residents. It appears on the Forum pages in the Weekend edition of the OCM.
The newspaper poses a question to the group each week, and participants choose whether to comment. This column is designed to bring the voices of well-informed residents into the Forum page to address issues, one at a time.
Participants cross the local political spectrum and live throughout the town. Some are current or past Town Meeting representatives, and all are active in the community. We hope their diverse points of view will encourage discussion of the issues Plymouth faces.
This week's question
One of new OCM multimedia journalist Dave Kindy's principal beat assignments is economic development. What aspect of Plymouth's economic development would you like to see Dave look into?
The Cedarville area, especially Hedges Pond Road, has a lot of new construction. What enterprises, old and new, are in Cedarville and how are they contributing to Plymouth's economy?
Welcome, Dave Kindy.
Pat Adelmann has been a Plymouth resident since 1977and is a mother of five Plymouth Public School graduates, a proud grandmother of 12, a former School Committee member and a former Town Meeting representative.
I think Dave Kindy will be a great addition to the OCM. He should explore the effect that zoning has on economic development tied into my perception that those writing the zoning bylaws have little experience in economic development. Then there are policy decisions such as water rates, sewer rates, Board of Health regulations, fees. I am not saying that these are necessarily bad, just that they should be looked at in light of economic development.
Ed Angley is an attorney specializing in zoning and land use. He is a former Scout leader and coach.
Industry. Lots of it. It pays livable wages and benefits.
Plymouth’s tourist industry and retail stores do not pay the wages nor the benefits that a person requires to raise their family. (Unless they work multiple jobs.)
Having said that, a book store. I really would like a book store here. I hate having to drive to Hyannis or Weymouth.
Jay Beauregard, born and raised in Plymouth, served four years in the Marine Corps and has worked for 38 years at a local company. He is a Libertarian who served three terms as a Town Meeting rep from Precinct 6.
For years, I've been urging the town to put someone in charge of clearing titles to the 1,000-acre tract in South Plymouth near 495 where a movie studio once wanted to locate. It's a perfect (and sorely needed) site for a new industrial park. Quite frankly, I don't care if there are other priorities – this can have a huge impact on the future of town finances. I'm not interested in why it still has not been done. Just get it done!
A Plymouth resident for more than 40 years, Jeff Berger is founder and owner of JMB Communications / websitesthatworkusa.com and everythingsxm.com as well as Northeast Ambassador for SkyMed International, www.getskymed.com. He is a former chairman of Plymouth’s Nuclear Matters Committee and its Cable Advisory Committee.
We are very short on space for economic development. But the main and overall problem is infrastructure. We are sorely lacking in that area.
The question is, does Plymouth have the resolve, insight and money to fix all the infrastructure that is needed? Rezoning is also required in order to bring in money-making commercial endeavors. One area that should be enhanced even more is Cordage Park. A larger arts center could be housed at Cordage Park and perhaps it could serve as a permanent home for the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra.
Karen Buechs is a Town Meeting representative and serves as Chair of Precinct 7. She sat on the Manomet Steering Committee, Manomet Village Common Inc., Capital Outlay Committee and the Revenue Idea Task Force. She also served as Charter Commission member and on three Charter Review Committees. Along with her husband Ken, Karen has been a resident of Plymouth for 46 years.
Plymouth has it all. Utterly unique historical significance, expansive and varied land mass and enviable citizen engagement. The economic development directives most prominent come from town leaders and Chamber of Commerce members around promotion and support of small business and tourism as economic engines – they’re strong and adaptable.
My proposal has to do with the economic opportunities within Plymouth’s utterly unique topography, hydrology, coastal interface and extensive forestation. Plymouth’s Pine Barrens are found almost nowhere else on earth and create a habitat of economic value. The hydrology of Plymouth’s aquifer is one of a kind. An economically challenged cranberry bog system now serves academia as a scientific hub. It’s called the Living Observatory. I’ve noticed that a new player in town, the Blue Incubator, is bringing our unique coastal opportunities (with public/private partnerships) into play. Our watershed associations bring in state and possibly federal grant monies. The business/economic opportunities in becoming the economic engine that addresses rising sea levels; more frequent and costly hurricanes and the impacts on people and place are extensive and viable. World-wide challenges that can be addressed through growing the seeds that are being quietly planted here. How do one-of-a-kind places become hubs of economic growth? They are the unique place at the right time.
Go for it David Kindy!
Birgitta Kuehn is a recently retired clinician and healthcare executive. She serves as chairwoman of the Board of Health and alternate to the Planning Board. Her commitment to volunteering spans local conservation and environmental groups, PACTV “The Plymouth Show” and the League of Women Voters.
Welcome to Dave. I’ve known Dave for a long time and think that he’ll be a great addition to the OCM team.
I would love to see him tackle the ageless problem of improving infrastructure while thinking outside of the box. What has Plymouth done creatively to fund large projects, buildings and equipment, without passing the costs on to the taxpayer?
What ways can the town creatively fund the many buildings such as fire stations, in desperate need of large repairs or replacement, without putting it on the taxpayer? How can we fund our 400th celebration?
Grants are a great place to start, but what else can we do, as a town to improve infrastructure and keep the taxes down?
Mike Landers is a Town Meeting representative and is the founder and producer of Project Arts of Plymouth. He is also the owner of Nightlife Music Company and is a performing musician.
Zoning and approvals processes. Plymouth is perceived as new business unfriendly, with multiple steps for approvals, costly in time and money. Dave should follow the boards and committees from which permits and approvals are required before any new venture can proceed: Planning Board, Board of Health, Conservation and Zoning Board of Appeals. He should meet with Lee Hartmann's Planning Department to understand the town's zoning; additionally, when and where special permits are not required. Good journalism can help both the boards and the public work toward better permitting decisions. Economic development occurs in fertile ground. This Jammer welcomes Dave and his help in rolling out the welcome mat to business.
David Peck is the retired director of Facility Planning at Boston Children's Hospital. He serves as the chairman of the Plymouth Building Committee and vice-chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals. He is a Town Meeting representative from Precinct 4.
I hope Dave will enjoy the roving reporter part of the job; finding something interesting in all the many community events that capture the breadth of our community. Glad that he’s a digital expert, because we need more “reporting from the scene” photos and video clips. We should have “breaking news” coverage just like that touted on mainstream TV.
I hope Dave can maximize that part of the job which involved ferreting out stories rather than just being assigned to go out to cover XYZ. He’ll find it difficult to get out to every meeting and social event, but, as much as possible, it’s what I’d like to see to help the OCM be a stronger part of our community.
Ed Russell is an attorney and a Precinct 12 Town Meeting representative, and he serves on a number of town committees.
Ecotourism! An economic plan highlighting access to our natural areas is the way forward. Cape Cod Bay, ponds and rivers, the globally rare Pine Barrens, Myles Standish State Park, town parks and conservation lands provide unique outdoor opportunities within 45 miles of Boston and without bridge and Cape traffic. Studies show recreation in natural areas generates reliable revenue for host communities. Boating, fishing, whale watching, swimming, hiking, cycling, and nature observation can generate revenue. Current open space should be linked together and enhanced – from the North Plymouth bike trail and Hedges Pond Recreation Area, Elmer Raymond playgrounds, waterfront parks, Tack Factory park and southeast to Myles Standish State Forest, and the Long Pond, Halfway Pond and Mast Road areas.
We have ready partners: Wildlands Trust, Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance, Whale & Dolphin Conservation, Herring Ponds Watershed Alliance and Mass Audubon are a few. Tying in Native American culture and history is another opportunity.
The group Explore Natural Plymouth is working on this. Economic development based on exploiting natural resources is a dead end. Destructive sand and gravel mining, industrial solar fields, and malls are one-off losers that destroy our community character and quality of life.
Meg Sheehan is a fourth generation native of Plymouth and graduated from Plymouth Carver Regional High School. She has a JD from Boston College Law School and has been a public interest environmental lawyer for over 30 years. She is passionate about preserving Plymouth’s open space and community character, including its beaches, Coastal Plain Ponds, and Pine Barrens. She is often found walking in the woods looking for rare plants, turtles and dragonflies.
Economic development is never easy and planning how or where it goes is usually a crap shoot! Now that North Plymouth is built out and Entergy wrapping up, we should try to develop South Plymouth. Didn’t we have a plan to buy up tax property for that purpose?
Roger Silva is a former five-term Plymouth selectman who began public service as an elected Town Meeting member. He has served on the Advisory and Finance Committee and two charter commissions.