It can't help fundraising efforts or public enthusiasm when a top elected leader in New London, one who has been involved throughout the process, voices doubts about the planned waterfront location for the National Coast Guard Museum. So it was a spit out your coffee moment for some Thursday morning when they opened The Day to read the comments of City Council President Michael Passero.
"I'm skeptical of the location," said Mr. Passero, speaking during a forum Wednesday night hosted by New London Landmarks at the Public Library of New London. Mr. Passero, a Democrat, is seeking election to a third term.
Contacted Thursday, Mr. Passero said the public should not construe his skepticism about the location for the $80 million project as a lack of support. He notes that he donated $1,000 to be among the first 100 to kick off the fundraising campaign. Mr. Passero says he is excited and wants the project to succeed.
His skepticism about location is nothing new, he said. It is a tight spot for development, squeezed between railroad tracks and the harbor. Parking will be a challenge.
To be fair, in a written response to a question from the Landmark group - "How do you think construction of the proposed Coast Guard Museum might impact New London's historic downtown waterfront district?" - Mr. Passero noted his skepticism, but added, "I am prepared to suspend my skepticism and do everything I can to facilitate moving the project forward."
Perhaps a good way to suspend his skepticism would be to stop talking about it.
A site is selected. Crowds attracted to the museum will boost the city economy and invigorate its waterfront district. Dealing with more people and more cars will be a great challenge to have. City leaders should unify behind this effort.
At the forum Mr. Passero observed the museum, with its glass façade jutting out into the harbor, could become a landmark such as the Sydney Opera House.
That sounds good.