We don't need health clinic Saturday, February 18, 2006
Peter C.S. Adams, Framingham Metrowest Daily News
The MetroWest Daily News has printed another whopper, this time arguing that Framingham should approve the Great Brook Valley clinic proposal on the grounds that it would aid revitalization ("Build the health center," Feb. 11).  You could almost believe the paper's good intentions until they described opposition to the tenfold growth in social services as "resistance to anything that looks like it's intended to help poor people."

This is insulting, oversimplified, and naive.

Yes, downtown "has stubbornly resisted revitalization for 20 years" and needs new investment.  But how can yet another tax exempt property help?  Framingham has relied on free-flowing social service money for "revitalization" for years, and all we've seen are marginal improvements in downtown, a multimillion dollar deficit, and a reversal of the decade-long downward trend in crime rates.

Yes, the uninsured need an alternative to the emergency room for health care, but by the time this clinic is even built all Massachusetts citizens should have health insurance, allowing private medical facilities to move into areas where the need is and provide the services needed by each local community.  This private investment would aid downtown revitalization through growth in tax revenues and the kind of private-public partnerships this synergy allows.

Not only would Great Brook Valley's proposed clinic not help revitalization, it would actually inhibit it by reducing revenues to the town, increasing parking problems, and suppressing private competition.

The town should vote to refuse the permit for this project if it is serious about revitalization.

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