Question: City Councilor David Hall wants the mayor to ask businesses, specifically new big box retailers like Target, Lowes and BJ's, to help buy textbooks, a fire truck and cruisers — over and above the taxes they pay. What do you think?

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In response to last week's question: With $50,000 in private money, mostly from developers, the mayor hired a consultant from the Midwest to determine how to best bring back the downtown. What do you think?

That's like putting money down the hopper. Merrimack Street will never be like it was in the '40s when it was hustling and bustling with quaint little shops like Kennedy's, Barrett's, Mitchell's ... and there were theaters. That's the key. The downtown needs a theater like The Screening Room in Newburyport, which has an ice cream shop and book shop near it — Anonymous.

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