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Peter Hobbs: Some ideas for downtown

Published: 9/13/2019 10:00:19 PM
Modified: 9/13/2019 10:00:06 PM

Thanks for the engaging series on downtown Northampton. I’ve been going there for the last 30 years, and I don’t bother to step outside of Thornes Marketplace now. Two naive suggestions:

First, install boldly marked lockboxes on downtown sidewalks to receive donations from passersby, that would be sent to local shelters. Then there’d be less incentive to give to panhandlers, and eventually there might be less panhandling.

Second, the city should own downtown buildings and charge reasonable rents to encourage many small startups that would make the area interesting and sociable again. It’s wrong to allow real estate speculators to strangle this wonderful social center with high rents, and it will only lead to more chains and less variety.

Is this idea utopian? Nah, it’s just challenging.

Peter Hobbs


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115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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