This first appeared in the Feb. 12, 1975 edition of The Gardner News
By Ellen Jordan
The Gardner Chamber of Commerce is not dead, according to a response by Mayor Cline Hart to an earlier statement from Chamber president Kenneth Moll, Jr. Moll stated that though he has not officially resigned from his pos, which he has held for two years, the Chamber is dead in Gardner.
Mayor Hart calls the assertion totally wrong.
“We have had in the past higher officials in organizations and government who have retired, resigned or left, but the organizations continue,” Hart said.
Moll claims the business people of Gardner have given good support to the Chamber, but that the basic stumbling block is the attitude of the city’s governing body to stimulate growth in the city. Moll claims that the biggest problem facing growth is getting more areas under development for residential areas. These are the ones who support the businesses.
Moll charged that city officials will not expand the sewer lines for growth and that the Chamber has been fighting the city governing body for three years about the issue.
“As to the city’s growth, I have been somewhat disappointed. But we must look at the overall picture of growth and what its cost to the taxpayers will be. It may be sewers or any other number of items that are a stumbling block, but
I believe we are the protectors of the taxpayers’ money,” he said.
The mayor said there indeed had been requests for annexation and growth and extension of sewer lines, but he is quick to assert that those sewer lines cannot stop at the edge of annexation.
“There’s no doubt that they would have to be extended to some type of sewer facility, whether at a new location or at the existing location, utilizing our present facilities; and then the request for annexation for development and the total cost must be assessed against that property. But I don’t think the property would stand that expense,” he said.
Hart says that at the price of land abutting to the city of Gardner, it is practically impossible for a developer to pay for the land plus the other myriad costs of developing it such as streets and plotting of ground.
“I would say if larger areas could be annexed and also be served by sewer, water, and electricity, the cost would then be more feasible,” he said.
Moll has suggested that the city will not “stick its neck out” for fear of making mistakes. He said he feels the city has shut off development because the city officials are trying to avoid mistakes, and in so doing, have avoided making progress. Moll continually gets back to the central problem – need for expansion of sewer lines.
In the past four years, the mayor claims there has been advancement in the water supply, the electrical distribution system, and some improvements in the sewer system.
“I think we should give credit where it is due that our water situation and fire protection are better than ever. We were able to receive lower fire insurance rates because protection has improved,” he added.
Fire insurance rates, after a survey of existing facilities in Gardner were reduced this year from 2 to 5 percent.
“If the Gardner Chamber of Commerce is dead, as so stated by its president, I feel a Merchant’s Assocation could be organized to fill the gap the Chamber would leave. I do feel it is absolutely mandatory to have some type of organization to be an exending arm of the city governing body to bring the needs of the people to focus,” Hart declared.
“Hopefully, when we receive such an arm, we can take it and do something with it. We want to serve the people. That’s why we are here. It’s a hard matter to try to do something We need information fed to us from a group like the Chamber.”
The mayor has offered to meet with any person or groups interested in suggesting what can be done to revive the Chamber or to begin a Merchant’s Assocation.