Candidate profile: Alan Slavin for Selectman
Alan Slavin, an incumbent Selectman who has been on the board for nine years, is running for another term because he hopes to see some major projects through.
Slavin has had a focus on transportation and infrastructure during his time in town politics, and that’s work he hopes to continue.
“Things take forever,” Slavin said. He explained that the South Coast Rail Program that extends commuter rail service to New Bedford and Fall River has been in process for 37 years, and he’s been working on bringing that service to Wareham for seven years.
He lobbied to get Cranberry Highway rebuilt, and worked with the state to more closely monitor crews after residents and businesses complained about the state of the roadway last summer. He also got the installation of a traffic light at Swifts Beach Road and Rte. 6 moved up on MassDOT’s maintenance calendar to 2024 from its original 2030 date.
He is still pushing to get commuter rail service to the Main Street train station, and would like to get two controlled gate crossing across the train tracks so those crabbing behind Merchants Way can safely and legally access the waterfront. The train tracks belong to the MBTA, so walking across them is trespassing.
By improving transit access to Main Street, Slavin said that the town would become eligible for Transit Oriented Development grants and programs, which would help uplift the Main Street area as a whole. Slavin said he hopes redevelopment will help the town take advantage of the waterfront by moving the entrances to the Merchants Way side.
“[Downtown Wareham] is not an end destination. We’re lucky, we have four or five great restaurants, but it’s just not enough to bring people in,” Slavin said. “I think Wareham is one of the few towns that has waterfront [property] that doesn’t take advantage of the waterfront. Everybody has development along their waterfront and we’re missing a huge piece.”
Slavin noted that because of the Onset decree, development opportunities there are more restricted. He also hopes to bring more job opportunities to town, and, with the commuter rail, residents could easily commute into Boston.
Slavin said he is also focused on improving services for the town’s seniors, who make up more than a quarter of the town’s population, and on building a community center for everyone to enjoy.
He hopes to help the town work with developers as well. Despite his endorsement of the Notos Group’s recently-defeated Hospitality, Recreation and Entertainment District, Slavin said he felt the developers made some wrong moves: expanding the scope of the district far beyond the property they were interested in, and keeping voters in the dark about development plans.
“I think transparency is critical,” Slavin said — both in communications with developers and with citizens. He said that the current lines of communication between residents and elected officials are insufficient.
Slavin said that the town needs to keep moving forward, especially with projected revenue shortfalls in the next 18 months or so.
“I look longterm — 20 to 30 years plus,” Slavin said, adding that he balances the town’s economic interests with those of conservation.
Slavin said he is in a position to do more than most Selectmen, due to his years of experience in town government and his many connections with legislators and other groups. He is the Commission Chair of the Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District, the District 4 Cape and Islands Representative for the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. Slavin is also on the Executive Board of the Plymouth County Advisory Council and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Wareham Historical Society. He is a member of the Wareham Land Trust and Buzzards Bay Coalition, and, with his wife Sandy, is a property steward for conservation land in Onset.
Slavin worked in accounting and on the business side of several motorcycle parts importers and distributors, as well as for a company that made custom riding gear for motorcyclists before his retirement.
For more about Slavin, go to his Selectman page on Facebook.