There’s been a fair amount of hysteria here and elsewhere, over a recent proposal by the Newton’s Economic Development Commission over banks in our village centers.

Let’s be clear, headlines to the contrary, the EDC is not pushing for a “ban on new banks in our village centers.”

I’ll say that again: It is not a ban. It’s not even a moratorium.

What the EDC is proposing is that banks be required to  obtain a special permit from the Board of Aldermen if they want to open on the street level of one of our business districts.  Furthermore, the proposal is only for one year; the EDC is not suggesting adding a new permanent requirement.

I give the EDC a lot of credit for starting this important conversation about the mix of businesses in our villages; the empty storefronts there now; and what happens to them as the economy slowly rebounds. Hopefully this proposal – and others like it – open up the doors for a good conversation about the overall vitality of our village centers.

Newton is fortunate to have a number community banks that give back to our city in so many ways. They donate money and staff time to non-profits and are always there supporting our village days, beautification efforts and student groups.  They’re a vital part of our village mix but it is totally appropriate to be concerned about how we achieve the proper balance.


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