An assessment of the fiscal, socio-economic, and environmental impacts of commercial growth in Rindge, NH

MacFaden, Scott
Meade Cadot
Department of Environmental Studies
1998
The fiscal, socio-economic, and environmental impacts of two commercial developments in Rindge, New Hampshire were analyzed. Three years were chosen for study—1992, 1995, and 1996. In each of the study years, the subject developments provided a net fiscal benefit to the town; property tax revenues generated by each development exceeded the monetary costs incurred in providing them with municipal services. The socio-economic impacts were mixed. Although employment and shopping opportunities expanded significantly, these gains were offset by a decline in the economic and social vitality of Rindge’s town center. The social and aesthetic character of the town has been transformed; many of the attributes of small-town life that once flourished have dwindled or disappeared. The readily discernible environmental impacts included the filling of approximately one acre of wetland at each development site. Water quality in the wetland to the south of Cheshire Market Place has declined, largely as a result of snowloading. In addition, it is possible that the site alterations at the WalMart location may be a contributing factor to recent reports of rising water tables in the area of lower Middle Winchendon Road. The application of Ecological Footprint analysis revealed that Rindge, as with most areas of the industrialized world, runs an ecological deficit; the subject developments contribute to the perpetuation of this “sustainability gap.”

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