The plan to build an advanced manufacturing campus on Hathaway Road in New Bedford has serious opposition from some city councilors and some in the public.

Mayor Jon Mitchell should put his considerable political capital and campaign war chest to work to sell his plan to the public. A full-court public education campaign is needed at this point before the positions of all of the city councilors harden in public. The mayor isn't up for re-election this year, but the entire city council will be. The mayor has options and he has resources.

Mitchell and his economic development team have been working for years on various ways to increase the tax base of the city and the number of jobs in the region. One solution they are offering is to take part of the land at the Whaling City Golf Course and transform it into an industrial park while preserving a golf course on the site.

The plan is a transformational opportunity for the city. However, there is a sophisticated opposition that understands it is transformational and they don't like that transformation for the city.

Mitchell has to convince the public that the future will be better with the tax revenue and jobs coming from an Advanced Manufacturing Campus. The opponents can point to the current benefits of the existing golf course and open space. Kids and families playing golf while other people are walking in the woods among deer, songbirds, and other wildlife is a strong image to overcome.

The mayor needs a blue-ribbon panel of business owners, labor organizations, civic leaders, and politicians to help him explain his vision and what the future can be for the people of New Bedford.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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