Mass. Town Rejects Newspaper “Condos”

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By: E&P Staff

In an old-fashioned New England town meeting, voters in Arlington, Mass., narrowly defeated the idea of grouping newspapers for street sale in multiple-paper racks community leaders called “condos.”

Members at the town meeting Wednesday voted the idea down 89-84, The Arlington (Mass.) Advocate reported Thursday in an article by staff writer Jennifer Mann.

According to the report, the idea of multiple-title racks had been under consideration for several years. A “News Rack Study Committee” was formed after resident complaints that the proliferating racks — especially the brightly colored plastic units favored by free papers — were unsightly.

Ultimately, the committee suggested placing the “condos,” or gang racks, as they are sometimes called, at various sites around the town. Papers would pay a fee, which would go to the purchase and upkeep of the racks. At a cost of about $15,000 for each newspaper condo, the committee estimated the plan would pay for itself within three years to five years.

At issue in Wednesday’s vote was not whether the town should go ahead with the funding or installation of the racks, but only whether to proceed with more planning.

Despite the closeness of the vote, the plan was a non-starter for most Town Meeting members, and generated little debate, the Advocate reported. “I think it’s a lot of nonsense for us to be building a $15,000 enclosure for newspapers,” staff writer Mann quoted one Town Meeting member, William Burke, as saying.

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