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Published On: Sun, Jun 2nd, 2013

KJ.com THINKS BIG: 4 Lofty Ideas That Could Bring Jobs to Kingston

As of 2010, the average home in Kingston was assessed nearly $5,000 in property taxes. Over the past 10 years, Kingston’s property taxes have increased by nearly 80%…and town taxes are still rising.

Worse yet, the average family in Kingston nets over $100,000 a year while the average job in Kingston pays about $35,000 annually.

KingstonJournal.com presents a new series entitled “Dreaming Big.”

In “Dreaming Big,” KingstonJournal.com will be looking at projects that could positively impact Kingston and help our community maneuver through the troubled economic waters of our times.

Today, KingstonJournal.com looks at projects (none of which are actually proposed) that could bring jobs to Kingston, and much-needed tax relief to Kingstonians in“Dreaming Big: 4 lofty ideas that could bring jobs to Kingston.”

The first project on our list is straight out of left field…

4. Bringing the “Boys of Summer” to Kingston

(Above) Mary O’Donnell’s property on Marion Drive. (Below) Exterior and interior shots of Campanelli Field in Brockton.

Before the economy crashed in 2008, a dossier of high-rolling investors proposed bringing an independent baseball team to Plymouth. The proposed baseball team even had a name.

But, along with the economy, the idea of the Plymouth River Eels faded.

Enter Kingston.

Mary O’Donnell’s land on Marion Drive has been the subject of an endless stream of proposals ranging from landfills to affordable-housing developments. Despite her efforts, to this day O’Donnell’s land remains undeveloped (except for three wind turbines.)

As the economy rebounds, if the dream of a local baseball team is ever revisited….O’Donnell’s property may be seen as prime-time real estate for the boys of summer.

That’s right. A baseball stadium.

Less than a mile off of Route 3, and only a few hundred steps from Kingston’s commuter rail station, the O’Donnell property is uniquely accessible to those coming from the city and the suburbs.

Pictured below the O’Donnell property is Campanelli Field in Brockton. Campanelli Field has a capacity of 5,000 seats and has been a vibrant addition to the City of Champions. During the  summer, the stadium doubles as a venue for outdoor concerts.

If a similar stadium was built in Kingston it would create hundreds of jobs during the summertime and bring millions of dollars in revenue to the town through taxes.

A baseball stadium would give tourists an incentive to visit Kingston…and, leave their money behind.

The proposition of bringing a baseball stadium to Kingston is one that is, truly, swinging for the fences.

3. Revitalizing Downtown Kingston

(Above) Part of 1.8 acres for sale in Downtown Kingston along the railroad tracks. (Below) Village Landing, an outdoor shopping plaza, in Plymouth.

Simply put, Kingston’s downtown needs a shot of tequila.

The 1.8 acres of land for sale along Main Street, across the tracks from Solstice, could be a perfect opportunity for Downtown Kingston to rebound.

Only a few miles to the south, in Plymouth, the Village Landing along Water Street is a perfect example of a revitalized urban area. Village Landing’s inviting cobblestone streets have tempted tourists for years and given Plymouth’s waterfront a unique identity that is the envy of the South Shore.

An outdoor shopping plaza would provide new opportunities to Kingstonians looking to open small businesses and, the tax revenue would from such a plaza would more than pay for the small infrastructure improvements needed. Taverns, restaurants, gift shops and ice-cream parlors could bring visitors to Downtown Kingston from miles around.

All said and done, a Village Landing-like plaza might just be the kick Kingston’s downtown needs.

2. Saving Independence Mall

(Above) An abandoned store in Kingston’s Independence Mall. (Below) An artist rendition of an office complex.

Downtown isn’t the only part of Kingston that needs a shot of tequila.

In recent years, Kingston’s Independence Mall has gone from one of the premier shopping centers in Southeastern Massachusetts to an afterthought for most local consumers.

Rival shopping plazas in Hingham, Braintree, and Plymouth have rendered Kingston’s mall nearly obsolete. And, as the stores pack up and leave, so do the tax dollars.

Today, vast amounts of the mall sit unoccupied, waiting for renters that may never come. But, perhaps what the Independence Mall needs more than renters is a new marketing strategy.

Since Deval Patrick’s administration has lowered taxes on high-tech industry statewide, Massachusetts has become the new Silicon Valley of the United States. As businesses relocate to Massachusetts from all around the country, it’s time for Kingston to get in on the action.

Kingston is a fantastic sell.

We’re 30 miles south of Boston, along a major highway, with access to the commuter rail. It’s a seaside community with all the amenities of a big city close by.

Bottom line, Kingston’s Independence Mall could be the perfect place for a high-tech industrial business to set up shop. The benefits to the community would be limitless, from high-paying jobs, to reduced commute times, to lower property taxes.

1. Opening the Route 80/Route 44 on-ramp

(Above) The closed on-ramp leading from Route 80 to Route 44. (Below) A Gulf gas station.

The Sisters of Divine Providence protested to the idea of building a Kingston exit on Route 44.

So, it didn’t get built and Kingston now has one of the only unused on-ramps in the state.

If access between Route 44 and Route 80 was ever opened, the result could be an explosion of both commercial and industrial development. A few years ago, and only a mile down the road, Cisco decided to build their plant in Plympton at the Spring Street Exit off of Route 44. The result in Plympton was hundreds of new jobs and a stronger local tax base.

Plympton’s Cisco Plant is a merely a foreshadowing of what could happen in South Kingston if the Route 80 on-ramp was ever modified and opened.

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  1. ssapir says:

    Good read! Nice work Brad.

  2. anonymous says:

    as to the first idea…the fact that there is an operational wind farm on Mary O’Donnell’s property pretty much kills the opportunity for any other meaningful development…something she should have investigated before dipping her nose in the promised riches of pursuing the “social justice” that she claimed the turbine project represented! Is she clueless as to the adverse impacts?
    That area, unless the turbines a decomissioned is useless from what I can tell…her idea of building condos is indicative of her oblivious business venture

  3. dvonella says:

    Brad, I appreciate your ideas and think you are on the right track. The devil is usually in the details and hopefully if these projects are ever proposed, they do not lead to excessive borrowing by the town. I was surprised to see that you did not have any projects in mind to better the education/school system. I believe this should be the number one priority. Not just the buildings, but also the quality of teaching and education. It is a proven fact that towns with a stronger school system are typically rated better by the credit agencies and typically have better revenue flows over the longer term and better town management policies. Raise the bar for education and you can almost guarantee a growth in private business. Nevertheless, bravo and keep up the nice work. Kingston should be more than just a rest stop for those folks headed to the cape.