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As a resident of Mitchell Farms, I walk past the site of the proposed "boutique hotel" on lower Main St. every day and would be personally inconvenienced by the increased traffic it would generate. So I take a keen interest in any plans for developing that site. Contrary to what you might expect, however, I actually support the idea of a hotel. Here's why:

Pretend for a moment that the property in question is totally vacant. You have two proposals on the table: one for a 50-room "boutique hotel," and the other for a vacant lot surrounded by three small, nondescript commercial buildings, none of which will be well-maintained by its owners and one of which will be used by a group of motorcycle enthusiasts to store and maintain their vehicles. Which alternative would you prefer?

Because that second choice describes the situation we have now. The property in question isn't pristine. It's an eyesore of no benefit to the community whatsoever. Would I prefer a park in its place? Of course I would. But with Sunset Park directly across the street and plans and funding in place for a "baywalk" park extending north and south of it - as well as the park and playground at The Landmark just four blocks away - I have to question just how much parkland the neighborhood can actually find a use for.

Frankly, I think that any of the realistic alternatives would be even worse than a hotel. We can argue from here until the bulldozers roll about the optimum size and number of rooms, but on the basic idea of building a hotel, the developers will get no objection from me.

Nancy Costenoble


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