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November 20. 2013 6:22PM

Pearl St. promise: Good skepticism from aldermen

Manchester aldermen were right to reject a private developer's proposal to build a parking garage and student-housing tower on the site of the Pearl Street parking lot. The plan was too risky for the city.

Multiple developers have expressed interest in the lot. All of the reported plans have included housing for college students. This particular plan was based on city financing. The developer wanted the city to issue bonds to fund the project. Developers like these city-bonded plans because municipal bonds bear lower interest rates than private financing options do — and because taxpayers own some, if not all, of the risk.

On Tuesday, aldermen and Mayor Gatsas rejected the idea, saying the city should not take on the risk of going into debt for a private development. Perhaps they recalled the trouble the city has had making its bond payments for the baseball stadium after large portions of the adjacent private development never happened.

Taxpayers should be encouraged that the aldermen were so skeptical about this deal. With luck, this skepticism will continue.


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