Letter: Great Barrington officials must get out of real estate
To the editor:
Remember years ago when the Berkshire Hills Regional School District wanted a new middle and elementary school? Remember how we were told that we would make millions on Searles Middle School and it would be the next Faneuil Hall, that the old Housatonic School would be the superintendent's offices and part of the building would be rented out as office space? The residents of Great Barrington fell for those lies hook, line, and sinker.
Years later and millions of dollars lost, the taxpayers are being fooled into thinking that by spending $650,000 on top of what has been spent over the last decade that the Housatonic School will become a polished money maker of some kind. Of course, a look at the sorry past involving real estate deals shows the Great Barrington taxpayers have been hammered badly. The old firehouse, Searles Middle School, the too small DPW facility and the luxurious new firehouse should remind us that the Select Board has no business venturing into another lost cause and money loser. The solutions are simple. Sell the building for $1 and allow people from the dreaded private sector to come up with something.
We have plenty of politicians who can and need to change laws that make it easier for people to turn old buildings into money makers that pay taxes, but in Massachusetts our elected pols are either ethically challenged (Great Barrington) or corrupt (State House). One thing is certain — the $650,000 will be wasted. Flushing the same amount of money down a toilet will bring the same results.
It is time for the town to get out of the real estate business. Oops, they are now the owners of Reid's Cleaners and still have an interest in the old Log Homesite. The ribbon cutting for the old Log Home site was in 2006; the results are priceless. Until Great Barrington elects five realtors it needs to stay away from real estate.
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