We were pleased the City Council eventually passed the Special Tax Assessment Agreement for Crane's stationery division at its meeting last week. The tax break from the city, with its Economic Opportunity Area designation for the main plant in the Hardman Industrial Park, rests on the assurance of 74 permanent full-time jobs being created, with 20 to 25 of those expected to go to new area residents joining from a Maine plant Crane purchased.
New residents to the area -- now there is a novel and welcome phrase.
However, that approval came only after all were treated to another installment of Councilor John Barrett III proving he can find the downside of anything, even to the point of just about "interrogating" a leader of a longtime local business.
We would like to highlight that there are indeed positive things happening in this city and the area, even if some people choose to ignore them, preferring rather to harp on their usual off-key chords.
The Crane deal is another installment in a series of steps in the right direction. Two such positive developments from recent months that haven't been mentioned here yet are passenger rail service planned between the city and Adams (which will serve as a boon for a revitalized Heritage State Park, a draw for tourists and a convenience for locals) and Northern Berkshire Healthcare's partnership with Berkshire Health Systems (a long sought-after goal that will help put the hospital in a stronger position to the benefit of all of North County).
While one has much to do with city governance and the other does not, both point to our theme: Good things are happening here and this shouldn't be ignored. Changes for the better need to be embraced, not vilified, so they and others to come can be encouraged rather than left to whither.
What is the alternative? What business, group or individual wants to work with this city when every single idea presented is burned in effigy no matter its possible positive impacts? Mr. Barrett and those who follow his poor example say they're vetting ideas for the best interests of the city. We counter that while that could be true, it comes off as posturing and subterfuge with questionable motivations.
It has long been time to ignore the nay-sayers of North County. Wrap a banner around the victories in the crusade to better and enliven this community and march onward ... leaving others behind to fossilize as they so obviously desire.