Local Government and Politics, News

Nahant protesters take to the street to oppose Northeastern expansion

Many of the protesters who gathered at the Lynnway Rotary during rush hour Friday were from the movement Keep Nahant Wild. The goal of the public protest was to let more people know what’s happening in Nahant. (Spenser R. Hasak)

NAHANT — Protesters took to the sidewalks around the Lynnway Rotary Friday afternoon, voicing concerns over the proposed Northeastern University site expansion at the tip of Nahant.

“The smallest town in the state is going up against one of its biggest universities,” Diane Monteith said. “Watch us roar.”

Several drivers by honked their horns in support of the approximately 50 protesters brandishing signs with drawings of the town.

Marblehead lobsterman Josh Mahoney fishes the waters and bays around Nahant. He questioned the university’s commitment to coastal sustainability.

“You would think they would study the effects of current systems,” he said. “They talk about sustainability but they are not proving it.”

The proposed expansion would include a five-fold increase in the amount of water collected at the Northeastern site from 500 gallons a minute to about 2,400 gallons.

Those concerned say that this system would dump warm water into the surrounding ocean and effect local ocean life.

Northeastern also proposed adding a building on a 23-acre site for research and classroom space.

“I’ve seen more invasive species in my traps already,” Mahoney said. “It rings hollow when they say this facility will be sustainable.”

Many of those who flooded the rotary were from the movement Keep Nahant Wild. The goal of the public protest was to let more people know what’s happening in Nahant.

“We are expanding our message further,” Candace Cahill said. “We want to get in to contact with people further than Nahant.”

“We want to send the the message to other towns that this could happen to you,” she said.

Monteith claims that Northeastern doesn’t have the best interest of the local communities they work with.

“They just want this as another jewel in their crown,” she said. “They don’t need this building here.”

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