In the first mayoral debate of Manchester’s election season, Alderman Patrick Arnold chastised Mayor Ted Gatsas for bringing a mere supermarket to downtown Manchester. Other mayors cemented their legacies by leaving behind large, publicly funded sports arenas, Arnold noted, but Gatsas has no shining obelisk or sparkling spheroid with which to impress future generations of citizens. If elected, Arnold said, he would be sure to build something grand in the name of the people, probably a river walk. To which we say, we’ll take more supermarkets, thank you very much.
Arnold suffers from the delusion that a mayor’s legacy can be measured in public infrastructure projects. (He apparently forgets about the grand public safety complex Mayor Gatsas spearheaded.) And he mistakenly believes that these projects are more important than private business growth.
Is the Market Basket Mayor Gatsas helped secure for downtown Manchester a worse legacy than the two downtown sports arenas? Arthur Johnson, political science professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has written a book on the economic impact of minor league stadiums. Their impact is “less than a large, urban supermarket,” he told The Baltimore Sun.
Gatsas’ focus has been on making the city more business-friendly, thereby bringing jobs and economic growth. Arnold would jettison that for a multi-million-dollar monument to himself. What a deal.