Having lived in Hallowell for over 25 years, I was thrilled to see that the Stevens School complex is going to be redeveloped, generating new taxes and providing opportunities for new businesses and residents to become part of our great city. However, I am concerned by comments from some members of the Hallowell Board of Trade regarding the type of businesses that may be part of the redevelopment.

The message I got from the board was that any business in potential competition to those along Water Street is not welcome. I would understand if it was called the Water Street Board of Trade, but the name implies that its purpose is to promote and support businesses throughout the city. A vibrant commercial base for a city requires competent business people, a vision as to what its citizens need and want, and yes, competition.

The multitude of restaurants downtown reflects this dynamic. Some may ultimately fail, but that is the reality of running a business. Setting up barriers to specific types of businesses that may create competition is not what the board should be doing, and not what Hallowell needs. Any new business should be welcomed within the constraints of the Stevens School master plan and city zoning. I hope the current and new city councilors take note and aren’t swayed by the apparent inclusiveness of some members of the board.

Keith Taylor


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