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Woonsocketier

What if Boston annexed again?

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Boston is fairly small in land area, and I think its reputation suffers because of its "low" population (although the region is much more populated than some of those large sunbelt cities). Even though it would never happen because of the politics and work involved, do you think an enlarged Boston would be beneficial? Montreal did something similar in 2002, and although it did not completely work out as planned the city was able to put itself close to 2 million people. Simply by annexing four or five towns in the vicinity, Boston could go from 600,000 to 900,000.

Lets say for instance that Boston annexed Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville, Malden, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere. Here's what the larger city would look like.

New population: 1,003,442

New land area: 83 sq. miles

New density: 12,089./sq mile

What are some thoughts on this pie-in-the sky proposal?

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You do live in New England, right?

Annexation never flies around here. I couldn't see any of the towns surrounding Boston joining up with the city. Especially Brookline and Cambridge. The only way it could possibly happen is if some town has complete financial collapse and needs Boston to bail it out via combining services. And even then, it could only be some place with a lower income level and a high blue collar population.

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Annexation is not the answer for really anything.

Boston gets plenty of love. If the city population were 1 Million, the MSA would still be 5 million or whatever, so nothing would change in the world view. People know Boston is a big deal. Every American knows just how important Boston is from the minute American history is tought in School.

If Boston lacks any international acclaim it's due to the lack of large international corporations. Also the number of international flights affects international recognition. Boston will never be NY or LA as far as a gateway to America. Tall skyscrapers will not change the view of Boston either. Boston is what it is. It is a huge city, a wealthy city, and a nice city. it is well known as an international education center. If Boston has any inferiority complex it is unwarrented.

Annexation brings in more people and more land and more expenses to a city. In order for it to be a benefit it would have to create savings on services like fire, police sewage, water etc. Primarily there would have to be a way to prove that the education system would improve and money could be saved and therefore taxes lowered. If these savings were beneficial to both parties it might be possible. Otherwise it just brings more expenses to the city and raises a population number that means little.

There may be cities that would benefit from Annexation, but the problem is that the town annexed would likely suffer. Why would a wealthy town with good schools and a healthy tax base join a major city that is short on cash and not as healthy over all. it is better to be the only fish in a pond rather than be a small fish in a dirty pond that you have less control over.

If tiny little bankrupt Hartford could annex the equally small, but wealthy West hartford, would the city be better off? HELL YEAH! Would Hall and Conard still be 2 of the best public schools in the state? Hell no. Would West Hartford be worse off? would its tax dollard be filtered to the poor of Hartford? yes yes yes.

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The last great annexation push of 1872 was driven by population envy in the Boston elites. Western cities like St Louis were passing Boston by at the same time that Boston's sea trade had dried up. The age of the Boston China traders was over, and railroads had allowed business to move inland to the sources of raw materials. Boston could offer water and sewer services that were needed by rapidly growing suburbs, but not a lot more. It was enough to bring in Dorchester, West Roxbury, Brighton and Charlestown, but Brookline - wisely, in the end - stayed out. The question is, what are the advantages to the towns and to Boston? Other than bragging rights - do we really want San Jose bigger than Boston? - what does it get you? Massachusetts was settled so long ago that the communities have had a long time to become vain about local control.

Here's a contemporary article about the 1872 annexation from my web site.

http://rememberjamaicaplain.blogspot.com/2...mes-boston.html

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I imagine the last time there was a chance to annex anything would have been when Chelsea went into state receivership in 1991. Even then, I imagine Boston would not have wanted it (similar to how Maryland probably doesn't want the District of Columbia). Now that Chelsea's fortunes have turned, maybe it would have benefitted Boston to get those property tax receipts, but Chelsea is almost an island and has no direct land connections to Boston, so physical logistics would be an issue (though Boston is able to administer Eastie).

But of course annexation is crazy talk in New England. In fact there was a proposal in the late 80s to create a separate city within Boston called Mandela.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,962627,00.html

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We need to de-annex, not annex! The outer boroughs of Hyde Park, Roslindale and West Roxbury don't share the same interests or concerns as those who live in the South End, Back Bay, or Beacon Hill neighborhoods. This disconnect keeps both from getting the attention they deserve!

But, suppose we did annex. I don't think Brookline or Cambridge would be eager to give up control. And, they are pretty healthy when it comes to economies - what would be the point?

On the other hand, Chelsea and Revere (and Winthrop?) could probably use our assistance. Thing is, what do they offer us in return - more tax revenue? Not enought to offset the added expenses. Land for redevelopment? Possibly.

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The only way annexation makes sense to people is if there is an emotional aspect. as mentioned ego is a vary powerful force. developers continually waste money on towers that are taller than the market demands. pure ego. So, since every city has its fair share of ego, I suppose annexation is a possibility. but that wealthy suburb is likely full of ego as well.

the only reason a suburb would join a city would be in the manner of a bourough. It worked in Toronto and New York all though NY was ages ago

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The last great annexation push of 1872 was driven by population envy in the Boston elites. Western cities like St Louis were passing Boston by at the same time that Boston's sea trade had dried up. The age of the Boston China traders was over, and railroads had allowed business to move inland to the sources of raw materials. Boston could offer water and sewer services that were needed by rapidly growing suburbs, but not a lot more. It was enough to bring in Dorchester, West Roxbury, Brighton and Charlestown, but Brookline - wisely, in the end - stayed out. The question is, what are the advantages to the towns and to Boston? Other than bragging rights - do we really want San Jose bigger than Boston? - what does it get you? Massachusetts was settled so long ago that the communities have had a long time to become vain about local control.

Here's a contemporary article about the 1872 annexation from my web site.

http://rememberjamaicaplain.blogspot.com/2...mes-boston.html

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Boston has a suffering reputation? I always heard that Boston was thought of as one of the "cool" cities and one of its big selling points was that is was such a dense, real city and not just a huge sprawl. Why on earth would you want to change that? If you mean why Boston may not be as much of a tourist city, well, I think number 1 is that our economy is still pretty depressed, and number 2 we need to put more effort into tourist marketing and tourist spots.

If we really need that sort of thing.

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If I were in charge of annexing other areas into Boston, I'd start with natural borders. As it turns out, the Charles River and Neponset River meet somewhere around Dedham, forming a nice border encompassing All of Boston (minus East Boston and Charlestown), Brookline, Newton, plus a tiny piece of Milton. Geographically it makes perfect sense.

Boston gains about 145,000 new residents making it the 15th largest in the nation (it's now ranked 23rd largest) The crime rate plummets with the added populations of Brookline and Newton (two of the safest cities around) and Boston College doesn't have to deal with the criticism of not being in Boston.

Unlike some others here, I think both Cambridge and Boston benefit from being separate entities. They're separated by water and have much different personalities. Sort of like DC and Alexandria or San Francisco and Oakland.

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