Letter: Stockbridge project has benefits for town, region

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To the editor:

Here in the Berkshires we are very fortunate to be at the epicenter of some of the finest arts and cultural venues in all of America. Tanglewood, our wonderful theaters, Jacob’s Pillow, our world class museums — all these and many more are the heart and soul of what make the Berkshires a fantastic place to live and work.

Though not the only way, I believe the arts and cultural economy is the best way forward if we want to keep our schools open, get our bridges and roads fixed, and keep our towns running.

There is no returning to a mythical past of previous industrial might, or wishfully thinking that we will be a magnet for Fortune 500 companies that will pick up and move here. What we do have, though, is genuinely appealing to a lot of folks. The very best projects that are coming on board here are tourism, cultural and hospitality related, bringing excellent full-time jobs for a variety of professional and service personnel, as well as for the trades — building, plumbing, electrical, you name it. These are real jobs, paying fine salaries with competitive benefits: full-time careers for a wide range of people.

I am especially excited to lend my support to Patrick Sheehan and Tony Guthrie and their Project 37 Interlaken in Stockbridge. This is a great adaptive reuse of a wonderful Berkshire Gilded Age relic, with a lot of very interesting side aspects such as the agricultural facet. Their plans are comprehensive, diverse, and need I say, likely to produce both outstanding job opportunities for many local people, and muchneeded cash and financial support to Stockbridge in the form of tax revenue.

I would also like to point out that, unlike some other area projects, these folks are not seeking incremental tax revenue and roping the town into being their partner.

It is well known that over the past decade Stockbridge has been losing population as well as using up large chunks of free cash. It’s time to invite some businesses in to change that.

Project 37 Interlaken is a major shot in the arm for Stockbridge, and I hope everyone will give these folks a chance to prove their mettle.

Phil Coleman, Lenox
May 16, 2017

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