Salt pile measure passes council

After separating a resolution defining the city’s memorandum of understanding with Eastern Minerals, the city council voted first to uphold the memorandum of understanding by a 6-5 vote and then voted separately on the loan order for $1 million.

That measure passed 9-2 and will allow the loan order to remake Highland Park to go forward.

Council President Leo Robinson had to put out a number of fires as the council debated the measures.

With last minute passions rising higher than expected, the council went down to the wire before approving both measures.

As a result of Monday evening’s city council actions, the long debated issues regarding Eastern Mineral’s place on the Chelsea waterfront’s designated port area have been put to rest.

But the final votes did not come easily and they were debated at great length and with passion expressed by a number of councillors.

Credit goes to Councillor Marilyn Vega-Torres for the passage of the measures. She is the ward councilor in the area affected. It was her belief that the agreement with Eastern Minerals gave more to the community than it would take away and she was therefore inclined to vote for the measures.

Councillor Roseann Bongiovanni, a longtime foe of Eastern Minerals, first voted against the loan order and then later voted for it after having her say.

Bongiovanni said she believed the city wasn’t getting enough for giving Eastern Minerals the right to remain where they are and to in fact expand their influence.

Council President Leo Robinson told his colleagues before the votes that he believed this memorandum and loan order were good and proper business for the city and its residents and for the waterfront area.

He said the improvements to the area and the opportunity for youth to have a new playing surface at Highland Park far outweighed any other options the city council might indulge in.

“We will hold Eastern Minerals feet to the fire in the agreements that have been made. They must do exactly as they have promised,” said Robinson.

City Manager Jay Ash said he was pleased with the resolution of the effort to stimulate changes on the waterfront and to re-do Highland Park.

“I’m very excited the council has embraced the city’s plan for the creation of better access to the waterfront,” Ash said.

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