Craigslist? An Enemy?

Posting on New Hampshire Craigslist Rants & Raves section, July 5 (unedited):

  • I am thinking about buying a multiunit property in berlin and wondered about the town and the people there? Would this be a mistake?

Responses, same day:

  • Berlin NH is the Black Hole of NH………… consumes money, lives, and souls…’s appetite is insatiable, Great deals on multi multis, usually means evil surrounds them.
  • You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You must be cautious.”
  • Was a nice town long ago.Now the prison is being built every scumb,welfare,loser is moving in here to live off the state.Unless you are already loaded w/ $$ it’s a bad idea there is NO jobs here no $$ .Every day we see more & more freaks ,scumb,etc here this is why we are moving out .This town turned into a hang out for low income people w/ 10 kids no job losers & once the prison is in all the Rif Raf from the prisoners will be moving in to be closer to them losers in jail.DON’T DO IT.Drive around every other house is for sale NO ONE wants to live here any more !!!!
  • Berlin WAS a nice place once, but with the paper mill that failed, it was the was the begining of the end for that one companey town, now its looking more like west hollis st in nashua, sad.

And the response, again, the same day:

  • thank you for the info, i will not invest in berlin

This is Berlin’s biggest challenge. In one day the possibility of investment in the city evaporates because of a few online posts. If the only word about the city of Berlin comes from the people denigrating it, the city’s future is lost. Councilor Tim Cayer said today he isn’t sure who is concentrating on change Berlin’s image down south. Shouldn’t someone be? Beautify Main Street, complete the ATV park, develop hiking and rafting; all of it is pointless if people aren’t willing to come up here.
How beautiful is Berlin? Yet it is the mill that dominates the city’s self-image. Councilor David Poulin suggested the city seal should lose the smoking stacks, two years after they came down. The city needs a makeover, bad. Not in substance, because what the city has is valuable. As Councilor Dick Lafleur said, the city should be proud of its history. But the pride, at this time, doesn’t extend to the web, and the city has no voice out there to counter detractors.
Who’s job is it to convince the world Berlin doesn’t stink? Who’s going to blog, and tweet, and post on Craigslist constantly, to change the perception of Berlin, New Hampshire?
A federal prison is moving into town. It will bring 300 jobs, starting pay around $37,000. The city’s fortune will improve, there is no doubt. Real estate investment right now would probably be brilliant, a year before the prison opens and people start coming. A five minute conversation should be able to point this out. But what does the investor hear?
“NO ONE wants to live here anymore!”
And what’s the argument from the city?

I’m trying to contact the original poster to see what other interactions they had besides the posts listed above. Hopefully they’ll talk to me and I’ll be able to make a story out of it. But the story is already clear: Berlin lost the battle because it didn’t show up. What’s the plan for the rest of the war?

Update: The woman who posted the original question on Craigslist got back to me and her story will be in next week’s Berlin Reporter.

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