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As a 10-year member of the Economic Development Commission serving under Dean Troxell and then Dick Wallace, it warms my heart to see Panera Bread join Mattress Firm and Pure Barre on the former Rock Pile and public storage site. Having sat through and spoke at countless meetings and public hearings on developing the site, it’s not lost on me that the vocal opponents (including a few notable elected officials) have joined the cheering crowd of grateful taxpayers whose burden is somewhat lessened by these additions to our tax rolls.
Having said that, attention must be paid to the tireless diligence and perseverance of my chairmen and colleagues on that voluntary board who suffered considerable public abuse for their temerity in working to replace a public storage site containing infinite unidentified potential hazards with a Fresh Market, Michaels Crafts, Bed Bath & Beyond, DSW, Petco, Ulta Beauty, and the rest of the tenants who serve our community. No less an expert than former Department of Energy & Environmental Protection commissioner Gina McCarthy (later EPA Secretary in the Obama Administration) spoke to the safety and efficacy of the newly introduced Zenon Wastewater Treatment System that finally won the day for the developers.
So while the recession slowed development briefly, it’s my great honor to publicly thank Mssrs. Troxell and Wallace for a job well done, and wish Economic Development Coordinator Brian McGlone well in the job they and the town leaders created for the town.
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