“Your decision will decide if Wakefield becomes more like Medford or more like Lynnfield,” attorney Alan Grenier warned the Zoning Board of Appeals last week.
Grenier had asked for and was granted an opportunity to present to the Zoning Board the opposition case against building the 130-unit Brightview Senior Living facility proposed on Crescent Street. Grenier’s client is Andrea Sullivan, who lives at 12 Crescent St.
Grenier also suggested that with units priced in excess of $5,000 per month, few people from Wakefield would be able to afford to move into Brightview’s local facility.
Apparently, only rich people like those from Lynnfield will be able to afford to live in Brightview, but if it gets built it will turn Wakefield into Medford.
This kind of class warfare-based, urbanization scare tactic is nothing new. It’s been around at least since I was a kid growing up in Wakefield. But no one ever talked about Medford. Back then, people warned about Malden’s urban blight creeping up Main Street through Melrose and infecting Wakefield. It even had a name: “Maldenization.”
But attorney Grenier can be forgiven for citing the wrong urban bugaboo. He’s from Topsfield, after all.
The grass is greener, according Grenier, in Lynnfield. But do Wakefield people really aspire to be more like Lynnfield? I’m a Wakefield native and I’ve never detected that Lynnfield-envy vibe.
Can someone please tell me why Wakefield can’t look like Wakefield? Not that Wakefield’s downtown couldn’t use some improvement, but it is happening, albeit slowly.
Is there any doubt that the old, vacant former CVS building looks nicer since the new landlord made exterior improvements and Dollar Tree moved in? The discount chain store may not have been everybody’s first choice for the type of business they’d like to see in the square, but everyone agrees that it beats a tired, old, empty storefront.
And what are the new CVS and the new Galvin Middle School at the south end of the square? Chopped liver?
The proposed Brightview building will not be small, but it’s also not going to be some high-rise, brick tenement building of the sort conjured up by urbanization fear mongers.
Our local officials and town board members live in this town too.
I don’t think they want to live in Lynnfield, but I’m pretty sure they don’t want to turn us into Medford either.
[This column originally appeared in the July 2, 2015 Wakefield Daily Item.]
Filed under: Columns & Essays, Humor, Opinion, Politics, Wakefield | 1 Comment
Tags: Alan Grenier, Assisted Living, Brightview Senior Living, CVS, Dollar Tree, elderly, Galvin Middle School, Lynnfield, Malden, Mark Sardella, Massachusetts, Medford, Melrose, Shelter Group, Topsfield, urbanization, Wakefield, Wakefield Daily Item, Zoning Board of Appeals