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Gordon announces economic development policy
Jesse Gordon, progressive Democratic candidate for Town Council at-large, announced his economic development policy this week. "Last year, the Randolph Town Council began implementing the new Randolph Redevelopment Authority," says Gordon. "That's going to be a major focus of the Town Council for years to come, and I want to take on the role of bringing important issues to the attention of the public, and ensuring the public's input into the lengthy process. I think this is the most important upcoming town issue that residents know little about yet."
The Randolph Redevelopment Authority will have the power to seize unused or abandoned "blighted" properties by eminent domain, after conducting public hearings and publishing detailed reports. "Eminent domain is a powerful tool and I think Randolph should proceed with caution," says Gordon. "We should learn the lessons from our neighbors -- I read the reports from the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority and the Brockton Redevelopment Authority, and I would apply those to navigate the complex process for Randolph." The Stoughton Downtown Redevelopment Plan was finalized in December 2016; the Downtown Brockton Urban Revitalization Plan had its most recent draft in March 2016. Gordon cites as an example of the lesson-learned how the requisite Citizen's Advisory Group is selected: "Residents' input is an important part of the process, and the Citizen's Advisory Group should reflect Randolph's diversity -- real estate stakeholders as well as environmental stakeholders and social service stakeholders."
Many activists support applying eminent domain to empty storefronts downtown, but Gordon would take a cautious approach for privately-owned property: "We should balance property rights with ongoing mixed-use economic development," says Gordon. "Eminent domain applies only to abandoned properties, not just because a property is vacant. For empty storefronts, we should negotiate with the landlords and offer tax breaks or other incentives."
Gordon is less cautious when it comes to state-owned or federal-owned properties: "I have a long list of proposed properties for the Randolph Redevelopment Authority -- anywhere you see a 'No Trespassing' sign on state or federal land -- those should all be considered for redevelopment, because they all fit the definition of unused and blighted." Gordon cites the abandoned federal army base in north Randolph, the Old Colony Rail Trail which extends past North Street to the Braintree T station, and numerous state-owned but little-used properties. "Did you know there's about 10 acres of Randolph land north of I-93, but cut off by the Interstate? Why not develop something there? And how about Exit 3 on I-93, which dead-ends at the Randolph border? Milton paved their side of that exit for miles; why don't we do the same, and get some tax revenue from it?"
Gordon's campaign team is distributing flyers across town over the next few weeks with details of Gordon economic policy. The flyers can also be found at www.JesseGordon.com.