Innkeepers raised valid concerns
I watched the last Select Board meeting the other night, and one of the major things the seven Select Board members need to do is find a way to balance the competing interests of existing businesses and the future fortunes of the downtown. Two hotel owners were voicing concerns about a proposed study sponsored by the Select Board to determine if a hotel would be viable in the downtown area. I believe the concerns that were raised were very valid. Both innkeepers, rightfully so, are worried about direct competition with their businesses. They presented a very sound case, in my opinion.
The quandary that the Select Board now has is that doing this proposed study would give us valuable information that could lead to a new hotel coming to the downtown. In my opinion, I believe the study is a bit premature, whether the Select Board goes through with it or not. The study will cost several thousand dollars and take some time to conduct. Wouldn't it better hold the study off until the Greenberg property gets an environmental review to determine if it is usable or needs remediation? As everybody knows, my pet peeve is that we keep doing study after study. However, if we do need another study to help this project move along, then let's be honest about it and lay those cards on the table.
If the initiative for the Greenberg property does not come about for reasons nobody foresaw in the cleaning up of that property, where does that put our downtown's future? It is paramount that we do not give up on developing the Greenberg property.
— Mike Bethel Bennington