Letter: 'Spa-dification' undermines Lenox
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Is it possible that the protests regarding the spa development at Elm Court are more than concerns about traffic? Although I do not live on Old Stockbridge Road, I do have concerns about the "spa-dification" of the Berkshires. The proposed development will, according to the developers, create 100 new jobs, but most of these jobs will be for dishwashers and chambermaids. As a former professional dishwasher, I can attest to the dignity of the work, and also the poor working conditions and pay.
It is almost certain that the salaries for these newly-created jobs will not allow the job-holders to live or have children in Lenox. So the added tax revenues the project will engender will continue to support lovely Lenox public schools with fewer and fewer children because there are no jobs that can sustain their parents. Perhaps the protesters are really saying no to spa-dification: saying, in effect, we need to do more than increase the percentage of our population who are poorly paid to spend all day mopping the pallid brows of stressed-out one-percenters.
But what to do? Perhaps the town of Lenox could say yes to the spa, but promise to take the new tax revenue to try to bring in employers who provide real jobs with decent salaries. Even better, perhaps Elm Court could be turned into a factory: a green, low-noise, low-pollution factory to be sure, but a factory employing people at good wages to make something useful. After all, the building itself is not graceful. The site is lovely but the building already looks like a factory, albeit a factory with a turret, so why not turn it into what it already looks like?
I suspect the abutters would still object, but the town of Lenox, and the entire county, would be much better off.