I plan to answer all of Ken’s questions, but right now I want to respond to what I consider the most important one on his list.
3. What would you do to increase employment opportunities in Southbridge?
After being off the council for a year I’ve had a chance to think about what we really need in Southbridge.
More than anything else we need jobs. And beyond that we need to create the chance for our people to start businesses that create jobs.
Years ago a town manager worked to bring a movie theater to Southbridge. He was torpedoed.
Now Sturbridge has that theater, and we all know what that will do for their economy.
I have an idea for another way to do something that will make a difference.
Let’s take one of the centrally located but depressed areas of town. Let’s acquire it through eminent domain.
Clear the area, and turn it into a Family Entertainment Center.
What would we put there? Consider these:
1. A Miniature golf course
2. Batting cages
3. A Skateboard park
4. A Go-kart track
5. A virtual driving range
6. A Winter ice skating rink/and summer bocce courts
7. Various locally owned food concessions
I welcome other suggestions. The point is that there is nothing in the area that offers this. We could acquire the necessary property and lease portions of it to local entrepreneurs for the desired purposes.
I am a devout capitalist. But this would not be a handout – it would be a hand up. Yes, we would have to borrow to start it. But we would derive income from this investment. It’s not like all the money we’ve borrowed under Carlisle and Clark that has returned nothing.
Once it’s up and going it would attract traffic from all over the region. This would be an incentive for major businesses, like Chuck-E-Cheese, to start a nearby business.
Jobs for local people. Opportunity for local entrepreneurs. An attraction for outside investors. And an investment that would more than pay for itself. A family friendly project that would give Southbridge a new image. This is a concrete idea that I will pursue if elected and that can happen.