Letter: Revitalizing Stevens Is Critical
To the Editor:
The Claremont Development Authority, the economic development arm of the city, enthusiastically supports the School Board’s bond for the revitalization of Stevens High School.
The deterioration of Stevens, coupled with the school’s tenuous accreditation, creates an environment that makes it extremely difficult to attract and maintain industry in Claremont. The key to industrial development is a young, willing workforce, and Claremont has been unable to attract that workforce due to the perception that the city will not adequately maintain its school facilities. This failure to maintain the school facilities is evident in the aging mechanical systems in Stevens and the community’s failure to address adequate life-safety codes. An industry considering a substantial investment in Claremont would certainly take these factors into consideration.
An industry would also take into consideration the tax base of a community that it is evaluating. Our shrinking tax base is due to a lack of investment in the community. If we do not attract investment, our tax base will continue to shrink, increasing the burden on the property taxpayer. The development authority disputes suggestions that taxpayers can save money if the proposed revitalization of Stevens is rejected. The emergency replacement of hot water heaters, boilers, etc. would be significant expenditures. The failure to address life safety codes has the potential to force a closing of Stevens by the city fire department or the state of New Hampshire. We as a community cannot afford these actions.
As Claremont citizens, we are as affected by high property taxes as everyone else. We have a great deal of compassion for those Claremonters who are having difficulty paying their property taxes while watching their home values spiral downward. We are at what is commonly referred to as a “tipping point.” We cannot expect industry to invest in Claremont if we, as Claremonters will not invest in Claremont.
Tom Rock, Chairman
Mike Satzow, Vice Chairman
And seven other members
Claremont Development Authority