A number of years ago, I proposed the creation of a scenic railroad for our city. This ideas was based on our history built around the railroad, as well as the opportunity to rebuild and strengthen our economic life through increased tourism.
Unfortunately, during that time, the Barrett administration did not judge such proposals on the basis of the quality of one’s ideas, but rather, judgment was based on whether you fell within the graces of said administration.
Having recently read that Mayor Richard Alcombright has been working on exploring the idea of a scenic railroad for the city provides additional hope for us. This effort is heartening because the creation of such an attraction has the potential of bringing in thousands of tourist and millions of dollars into our area.
With the historic Hoosac Tunnel combined with the proposed establishment of a casino in the Springfield area, the opportunities to grown our economy is endless. The task of creating a scenic railroad certainly will be difficult and complicated, but it is doable and the rewards far reaching.
If you have been to such places as North Conway, New Hampshire or other places that have scenic railways, you have seen the attraction for railroad buffs, as well as the economic growth that follows. Stores, restaurants, lodging and other businesses will benefit, and obviously, these benefits will spread to the overall community. Building a community based on tourism has been established, thanks to Mass MoCA, local artists, our college, business and government leaders, and the many volunteers who contribute in efforts of creating a rebirth for our area. Now is the time to act and compliment our tourist-based economy by creating a scenic railroad.
This writer understands that voters are upset with increased taxes and fees, but what is also understood is that the road out of our economic difficulties will ultimately be found through the open mindedness, hard work and the vision as being demonstrated by our current leadership.
Sure it will take time and disappointment will set up barriers to progress, but if we work together, we can achieve the creation of a more vibrant and economic successful community for this and future generations.