Friday, May 20, 2005

The Shops at Milton Centre

For how many years have we lamented the lack of a commercial tax base in our town? Or lived with inadequately funded services pretty much across the board, while resorting to periodic overrides of Proposition 2 ½ just to maintain basic services? How often have we looked to Beacon Hill for rescue through local aid funding, or through the creative efforts of citizens groups, such as those who championed the possibility of Pilot Funding for the Blue Hills?

Well, the chance to actually do something about all this may be at hand. The proposed “Shops at Milton Centre” development offers services and office space we need badly. It could provide jobs for Milton residents. The developers are offering to foot the bill to construct a new DPW facility for the Town. And most importantly, the project could generate $500,000 annually of desperately needed revenue.

Opposition has already formed against the proposal. I’m not talking about legitimate concerns that deserve to be heard and addressed if possible. I’m talking about attempts to kill the idea in its infancy without proper consideration. A large number of opponents attended a Selectmen’s meeting recently urging them to not issue an RFP, a decision that would kill the project. Some members of this group have been engaged in a campaign of vilification aimed at Senator Brian Joyce and have started untrue rumors aimed at creating doubt about the benefits the town would receive.

Now, the Selectmen will not be deterred from doing the right thing. They have hired a consultant to assist in the preparation of an RFP. On Monday May 23rd they will meet with the consultant during the Selectmen’s meeting. The meeting begins at 5:30, with the conference scheduled for 6:30. Citizen speak will be held after the business session. A public hearing has also been scheduled for Tuesday June 7th at the Pierce Middle School auditorium at 7:00 pm. Only after this meeting will they make a decision on issuing the RFP.

I don’t think we can afford to sit back and hope this opportunity comes to fruition and just magically clears all the hurdles it will have to in the next year. The opposition is organized and determined. They have so far dominated the presence and the news coverage of every meeting they have attended. I think our elected officials, including the Planning board, as well as our fellow citizens need to know there is a large and committed group of supporters who recognize that the time to whine about the lack of commercial development is over, and the time to do something about it is here.

Certainly a good start would be for supporters to attend and speak at the two upcoming meetings. Longer term we need to organize and plan. I’d like to hear from anyone interested in participating, including some of you recent Milton residents who have contacted me in the past weeks. Here’s a chance to affect the future of your community.

Email me at

The developers have a very informative website at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree the proposed “Shops at Milton Centre” need to be given a chance.

Sad to say, but if there is not enough support within town to redevelop an eyesore of a DPW yard sited on a central roadway then development of an enhanced commercial tax base AIN’T EVER GOING TO HAPPEN in the town of Milton.

That’s ok as long as the town recognizes and accepts the consequence, which is continual pressure on the residential tax base to support town services. Simply the cost of keeping that residential (some have called rural?) atmosphere. As the proverb says, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”.


5:32 PM  

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