The Troy Howard Middle School Seed Co. has a brightly-colored display rack at the Belfast Co-op. Last year, the middle school students, who save seeds from the plants they grow, sold 400 seed packets at the co-op. This year, they expect to sell 800 packets. Credit: Abigail Curtis / BDN

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In response to attempts to “Save the Belfast Co-op” I disagree with the assertions that the renovation endangers the co-op.

Cheaper alternatives in a strip mall might be possible, but remaining downtown is a sustainable and sound decision. It’s walkable, handicap accessible, easy to cart groceries and is loved by the community.

The renovation includes long-overdue upgrades to mechanical systems, a lift and new café. The board made decisions that renovation opponents disagreed with — that’s democracy. To expect a continual rehash of decisions is unreasonable. There are plenty of unmade decisions for the community to engage in.

The Belfast Co-op is a stellar shopping and community experience. The management has been top-notch, and that shows in the polite workers. They balance price and quality with local, fair-trade, affordable and sustainable options.

Years of planning and extensive financial stress tests have been done. So much so that I handed over $10,000 of my retirement savings as a loan. I lose no sleep about getting repaid.

Jim Merkel