New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has been working on a plan to expand the industrial tax base of his city and the job opportunities for the region. Now a plan is in motion.

The plan to create an Advanced Manufacturing Campus on Hathaway Road. It has been in the planning stages for a number of years. Earlier this month, the mayor submitted a 19-page plan to the city council for the necessary zoning changes and other legal necessities.

The land is currently the home of the Whaling City Golf Course and the land is owned by the city. The mayor's plan intends for some of the lands to still be a public golf course.

A hearing in the Property Committee chaired by Ward 1 City Councilor Brad Markey was scheduled for Thursday evening, but it was another COVID-19 casualty. The remote hearing was canceled because of technical difficulty. This hearing was the conveying of open space to meet the requirements for a land swap that is necessary to make the plan work.

The plan also needs a successful two-thirds vote in the Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives. That could prove difficult if the environmental lobby gets involved on Beacon Hill.

There is also a block of city councilors working to stop the project. The number of councilors in opposition ranges between three and five depending on who you speak with. City Councilor Linda Morad is the leader of the opposition. She is the last person in the current council anybody would want to have against them on such a technical legislative matter.

The callers to my show were about 90 percent in opposition to the new economic development project.

I am shocked by the opposition. The city needs a larger tax base and the region needs employment opportunities.

This is going to be a wild political battle.

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 chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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