Leo Higgins Answers Our Questions
Highland Avenue Development, South Salem Rail, and Salem Woods
Question 1 – Ward 3 abuts the the entire southeastern side of Highland Avenue (Rte 107), a very busy and extensively developed entrance corridor. How would you approach any future development proposals for that entire area?
I grew up on Greenway Rd which is off of Highland Ave. I know the area well. What the first step should be is a plan for infrastructure. Roads needs to be planned that connect Swampscott Rd to any new development. We should also explore ways to route traffic towards Swampscott and Lynn with new roads created from this development. Developers should pay for these new roads , if they wish to have the privilege of building in Salem. The planning department needs to look at ways to develop this area so that all traffic is not dumped onto the already overstrained Highland Ave. An elementary school would also be a great addition to this part of the city. This would give the growing area of Ward 3 a school which can be a hub for families of our ward.
Question 2 – The proposed MBTA stop along Canal Street is still on the table. Do you support the addition of this rail station and if so how would you propose making it more accessible to Ward 3.
I support a new rail station in Salem but I’m not sure that the Canal Street area is best. The rail area is very underdeveloped throughout that area of Salem. I’d like to see more ideas possibly at a site which does not impact homes. Keeping it near the Salem State Campus is key.
Question 3 – Have you any thoughts on how the city uses, maintains, and preserves Salem Woods and its nature trail?
Again, I grew up playing in the Salem Woods. I know it well. I also enjoy playing golf at Muni. I’d like to see the city revisit expanding the golf course . I’d like to see the nature trails in the woods expanded as the course expands and have the revenues from the golf course pay to maintain the nature area. The friends of Salem Woods could work at creating what they think is best for the nature preserve. I’d also place a function hall up in the area and have the city rent it out for weddings and other events as a way to generate revenue. A long term goal should be to put a road from Wilson Street to Swampscott Road. This is key to freeing up traffic with new infrastructure. Developing the woods but keeping it wild is key. Limited development could be created . A newly created commission would be charged with creating and overseeing all golf course/nature preserve development.
Salem is growing and I understand that nothing stops progress . But Infrastructure and careful planning is key to the growth of Ward 3.