In the decades of the 60's and 70's the City worked diligently to save and protect the approach to Middletown's downtown. It was also encouraged to not compete with Main Street for its economic livelihood.
Now the planners and the Chamber have decided that the offer of a particular and friendly developer has precedence over the viability of the Main thoroughfare. This is a sad and unfortunate change in direction.
This was a city that prided itself on its suburban beauty with an urban main street. Look to some of the successful small towns, ones that also have colleges; for instance North Hampton, MA and Saratoga Springs, NY and you will find vibrant main streets w/o encroaching on the side streets and main entrances. And they do not impose on neighboring college/university sites.
This is a bad idea that has merit only if the only concern is temporary tax benefits. These do not last forever, but mutilation of an attractive approach to the downtown will.
Don't make that mistake.
I am sorry that I no longer live in Middletown, where I chaired the Planning Commission for nearly a decade, because I would be there to object. Most vociferously.
This commentary was featured in the Middletown Patch in response to a regular Chamber of Commerce column, authored by Larry McHugh, endorsing the MX Zone change.