Berlin, once again

I heard the news of the death of the Laidlaw Berlin Biopower project on NHPR last week, and the information has been trickling in ever since. I’m not sure what to think. I have always understood both sides of that argument — some people for it, some against, based on whether they needed jobs now or could wait for some better future down the road. Now it’s gone, the federal prison is on hold, and the state prison survived after some threats by the department of corrections. Where is Berlin headed? I wish I knew. I’m not there nearly as much as I was, but I still make it up there far more than I ever did before I worked there. And I still think about how to get back there. What will it be? Who will work there? I think it’s like most working class places — dying out. The fact is the socioeconomic strata that the mill supported has evaporated in the United States. Portland, Maine, and Portsmouth are clear examples of what happens next: they get turned into upscale apartments that the former working class residents can’t afford. Will that happen in Berlin? It already is, but it hasn’t become a trend yet. We’ll see if it reaches that tipping point. And we’ll see how the people that trend edges out react. It looks to be an interesting time, for sure…

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