Despite all the brouhaha over the potential Wesleyan bookstore relocation—including dissenting voices from Middletown resident Jen Alexander ’88 and Red & Black owner Ed Thorndike ’89—Mayor Dan Drew remains committed to supporting the development on economic grounds. In a press conference on Wednesday, Drew praised developer Bob Landino’s proposal as a potential job-creator in Middletown. As Middletown Patch reports:
“This will bring a $6 million influx of funds into the Middletown economy,” said Mayor Dan Drew. “It will create 30 full-time jobs in the development complex.”
Joining Drew at a press conference in council chamber of city hall were Robert A. Landino, president and CEO of Centerplan Construction; Gerry Daley, longtime chair of the Economic Development Commission; and Larry McHugh, president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.
Drew also compared the model to William and Mary College (though this slab of Washington Street is at least a few blocks from Middletown’s “historic downtown”) and praised Landino’s connections to the Middletown community (read: he’s not from “New York or Boston or Chicago”):
“It’s a model extremely similar to what’s been done at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.,” Drew said — a university bookstore in the heart of an historic downtown. [ . . . ]
“If this were a developer swooping in from New York or Boston or Chicago that we didn’t know, it would create a tremendous amount of concern,” but, Drew said, Landino is a “known quantity” working with local Realtors, local architects and engineering firms.
Many of the reader comments, interestingly, are in favor of the move—and less in favor of Wesleyan’s involvement with it. As one “Jane” voices:
cant say I trust Wesleyan much with it’s promises to our town- those jobs will probably go to their students not what they call “townies”- people have a short term memory with promises to open the athletic center to our community- its not as accessible as they had us believe-