Letter: Walmart proposal will benefit Tyler Street, Pittsfield

Walmart plan will benefit street, city

To the editor:

As a resident of Tyler Street all my life and a native of the Berkshires, I have watched businesses come and grow and/or come and go. General Electric, where my mother worked for almost 18 years, helped put five siblings through school, food on the table, clothes on our backs, and provided a pension for my mother who is now in her 70s. It gave access to health resources for a sister with cancer, allowed brothers to thrive, and a single mother to be triumphant in economic hard times. Now GE is gone and Walmart has a proposal to clean up whatever is underneath the slabs of concrete that have been empty for many years.

Let's do some fact-checking:

— Waterstone will invest $14 million to rehabilitate the site with a DEP-mandated stormwater system.

— Major upgrades are promised, adding trees and landscaping, and a light at the Tyler/Dalton/Woodlawn intersection.

— Total investment is approximately $31 million, all of it private sector money, not Pittsfield tax dollars.

— Walmart is already here and is part of the "Cop On Top" fundraiser that in 2014 raised $52,000 for the Special Olympics. Since it arrived in 2010 it has amassed more than $400,000 for the Special Olympics.

— Approximately $500,000 in property tax revenue will be generated annually for the city

— Approximately 350 construction jobs over two years will be provided in addition to 85-100 new full- and part-time jobs for a total of 300 jobs.

— There will be easy access to comparable pricing on food, clothing, eye care, prescriptions, and automotive needs.

But, what really makes me a believer in this center is the fact that Al Maiorino from Public Strategy Group Inc. stopped by my house to see me, look across the vast space, and ask what my concerns were and what ideas could I give to him to utilize and help make the center right for Tyler Street business.

That in essence told me that Walmart, Woodlawn Crossing, and Public Strategy Group want what's best for my neighborhood, the place I call home, and the place I want to see grow and provide a prosperous future for us all and the next generation.

Paul L. Breault, Pittsfield


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