Pittsfield falls short in tale of two cities
To the editor:
The Sunday, Sept. 4 Berkshire Eagle contained two telling articles in the B section regarding Pittsfield's economic growth and that of another Massachusetts city, Fall River.
Pittsfield's PEDA is bringing a Walmart superstore to Woodlawn Crossing in the William Stanley Business Park, much to the disappointment of the Berkshire Central Labor Council and others. Meanwhile, CannaTech Medicinals is currently building a multi-million dollar facility in the Fall River Business Park. The company will grow and process cannabis for medical use and is betting on the federal government finally catching on and removing cannabis from its list of Schedule 1 drugs. It certainly makes more sense to allow the FDA to oversee medical research rather than the DEA continuing to squash it.
Of course, once that happens, the potential for economic development and job growth will be very real. CannaTech believes that will allow it to expand its facility in Fall River to potentially create 100 jobs.
Besides job creation, Fall River is joining the cutting edge by formulating its own rules for the business. Fall River's mayor, Jasiel Correia II, has the right idea when he says, "It wouldn't be prudent for the administration to be obstructionist."
Massachusetts will join five other states in asking voters to legalize recreational cannabis. It certainly doesn't look like our current Berkshire delegation or that of the entire state of Massachusetts has the moxie or the willingness to be the first state in the nation to legalize cannabis by legislation, so the voters will do what they are afraid and too close-minded to do.
Wouldn't it be great if Pittsfield's leaders could be as forward-thinking and progressive as those in Fall River and begin developing plan for and actually recruiting businesses like CannaTech Medicinals and related industries to the William Stanley Business Park? Business that can really make a difference for those seeking employment as well as for municipalities trying to generate revenue for years to come.
It is working in other cities and states and it can work here, too. Why support a plan that will only benefit a mega-corporation like Walmart? Rather than closing the Walmart in the Berkshire Crossing shopping center on Hubbard Avenue, how about keeping it where it is and using the William Stanley Business Park to bring in businesses like CannaTech that will sustain our community for years to come? Or we can simply move to a city such as Fall River that is looking towards the future?
I don't know about you but I'd much rather see people have a reason to stay here.
Michael Murphy, Pittsfield