Conrad Prosniewski Answers Our City-Wide Master Plan Question
Is The Legacy Master Plan Still Relevant?
The City of Salem City Wide Master Plan was written in 1979 under Mayor Jean Levesque. It was last updated in 1996 under Mayor Neil Harrington. Does this master Plan, as written and updated remain relevant to the needs of the city in the east 21st Century?
One could say any plan nearly 25 years old is likely outdated and requires a major re-write, but revisiting the Master Plan of 1996 finds it actually addresses many of the issues relevant to Salem today. The Plan’s emphasis on economic development, downtown development, tourism and the waterfront were all a priority in 1996 and are still important today. One correlated missing factor in the 1996 Plan is that Salem’s population surge from 38,000 to 45,000 was not anticipated nor was the boom in property values. The result is that in 2019, we have an affordable housing crisis not addressed by the existing Master Plan. The sale of the Salem Power Station was not expected in 1996. The redevelopment of that property is extremely important and must be an integral component in an updated City of Salem City-wide Master Plan which will dictate the future of Salem’s waterfront expansion. So to answer the question succinctly; yes, many of the points of the existing Master Plan have continued relevance, but changes in our City since 1996 dictate the necessity of updating it to adequately address today’s priorities.