Editorial: More Metacomet musings

Posted 4/28/21

L ast week, we stuck our beak into the messy Metacomet matter in this space. We reiterate we do so reluctantly due to the nature of the conversation and also with the notion of finally weighing in …

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Editorial: More Metacomet musings


Last week, we stuck our beak into the messy Metacomet matter in this space. We reiterate we do so reluctantly due to the nature of the conversation and also with the notion of finally weighing in when the moment seemed appropriate.

It was an apt time considering that the latest proposal presented by Marshall Properties was a vast improvement on what it had previously offered and appeared to be a rational, reasonable redevelopment plan for the golf course.

The plan also saw the light of day as the appraisal numbers gathered by both sides, the owners and the city, began to percolate in the ether. As a matter of fact, the City Council planned a special session on Thursday night, April 29, to make its figure known.

Though yet to be made public, nor officially confirmed, Marshall’s number has been estimated to be at some $16 million-plus, while that of the city is said to be in the range of $8-$10 million. So, just spitballing here, that likely means it would eventually cost the city upwards of $12-$14-or-so million to take the property through eminent domain.

Also, last week’s editorial as it appeared at eastbayri.com differed slightly from the one that ran in the April 22 print edition of The Post, which was abbreviated due to space considerations.

Missing from the paper were the following lines, “To the ‘Keep Metacomet Green’ community group, take heart. You’re efforts haven’t been in vain. Even though it is unlikely the land you have so passionately argued should be left ‘open,’ both in its ideal and to the public, your actions will have undoubtedly pushed those on both sides of the issue closer to a better result. You should be proud of your attempts and continue to be a part of the discussion.”

That paragraph means as it reads. It’s an appreciation to a group of residents for finding their voices, presenting their views and demanding to be heard. You were…loud and clear.

It goes without saying the response by locals played a key role in altering how the owners of the property have approached their latest plans. That and the threat of the city taking the parcel through eminent domain were undoubtedly reasons why the most recent proposal has proven much more palatable to many of the pols and the general public.

As we wrote in so many words here last week, it’s time those in opposition put aside their idealistic views of what Metacomet should be and for those who seek to redevelop the land to put together a more realistic version of what they would like to see it become.

In other words, it’s time to compromise, which wouldn’t be a bad way to go for all involved.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.