Letter: Critical Vote for Claremont

To the Editor:

On March 12, Claremont voters should vote “yes” on Article 2, which would renovate Stevens High School. As a Stevens High graduate and longtime Claremont resident, I remember what happened when Stevens temporarily lost its accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in the early 1990s because of inadequate facilities. Claremont voters stepped up to the plate and approved modest improvements to the existing building. That work helped restore the high school’s accreditation a few years later. Nevertheless, I believe the damage to Claremont’s reputation was done and helped prevent the city from fully participating in the national economic boom of the late 1990s.

This unfortunate situation must not be allowed to repeat itself. Claremont is now slowly making progress in rejuvenating itself. Approving Stevens’ renovation would continue this progress. Yes, high property taxes are a problem. But not approving the renovation would likely discourage families and businesses from moving to Claremont, ultimately shrinking our property tax base and increasing the tax burden for those of us who remain. As one of Claremont’s state representatives, I am working to get Stevens’ renovation some much-deserved state building aid. But the renovation won’t get any aid at all if Claremont voters don’t first take positive action. Therefore, please join me in creating a brighter future for Claremont by voting for Article 2.

Rep. John R. Cloutier, Democrat