Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Sturbridge Top Ten List
I don't expect a town official to come on these pages to offer a few words about it. It would be great if they did, but they have enough to do. What I'd like to do is offer up some of my thoughts on the subject, and if you agree, or even if you disagree, then forward the post off to a town official.
My job here is to vent the steam from this head of mine. Steam not from frustration, or anger, but from plain thinking too much. It has to come out somewhere. Might as well capture that steam, and let it flow through the keyboard.
That being said, allow me to "vent". Below is my Ten Most Needed Things to be Done in Town List. The list is a random collection of ideas, some reflective of that survey taken by the Town, but mostly just thoughts.
10) Cut down some the trees on the north side of Route 20 at the intersection of Route 131 to allow residents and visitors a view of the Cedar Lake. Currently it is hidden in the pines, and it's a shame.
9) Allow for more, and better parking at the Conservation area trail heads. The conservation area on Stallion Hill Road has barely enough room for one compact car to park, and there is no safe parking on the street. I don't think any salamanders will be affected, and if there is a concern, I will personally go there and move them all by hand myself. Bottom line is, if you are going to spend the money to buy and conserve an area, and then mark it with a sign, you must allow parking. It's a no brainer.
8) More mini-parks in Town. I know the town has this on their minds , too. The recent mini-park established by the town and the Rotarians at the corner of Cedar Street and Route 20 is an excellent example of this, as is the little park beside the Mill in Fiskdale. How about the land on the other side of the Mill? It sits high over the Mill Pond and falls of the Quinebaug River and has a good amount of land for parking, picnic tables and benches for staring off into space from, too. Or how about a nice trail to the river from Main Street? At the river, clear a small area, and plop down some picnic tables. A nice Scenic Byway for those that walk Route 20 everyday. The reconstruction of the Memorials at the Center School on route 131 was another excellent example of making what we have that much better. Well done.
7) Traffic lights at both ends of Hall Road. One set at the intersection of Route 20, the other at the intersection of Route 131. The Route 131 intersection actually sees more traffic from those roads than where there is already a traffic light at the intersection Route 131 and Maple Street. This is a no brainer, as well.
6) Ban heavy truck (18 wheeler) traffic from Route 148 except for the trucks that "live" there, and those serving addresses on the road. The road is too narrow in places on the way to Route 9, and the speed they travel at is not the best. They seldom slow down in the school zone. Make the road a Scenic Road for passenger vehicles only, and redirect the truck traffic to Route 49. Route 49 is officially an "Expressway", meaning there are no driveways on the entire stretch of road from Route 20 to Route 9. One of the reasons it was built, was just for this reason. Truckers can "crank it" comfortably on this stretch of road.
5) Do something with the land south of the intersection of Route 20 and Route 148. Damn, its ugly, and the sad thing is, it has enormous possibilities, but just sits there--waiting to be sold. Waiting for someone to buy it. (hint, hint).
4) Give the Town of Sturbridge Historical Commission a place of their own. Jeesh. We're in Sturbridge for crying out loud. Have a nice place for them to meet, and display all the collected artifacts they have stuffed in closets all over town. When that happens, I'll contribute with some of the things I have squirreled away, too.
3) Pass a by-law that states ALL swimming pools in the Town, not only the in-ground pools, but above ground pools as well, must have a permanent fence surrounding them with a self closing and locking gate. And, as far as those new, inflatable 18 inch deep temporary pools go, well, if they are to remain filled with water overnight, or if there is a chance they will be filled with water when there is no supervision around, then they must have some secure temporary fence around them, too. Don't argue this one with me, talk amongst yourselves. I am told that there is a mandate to have a fence around an in ingrown pool listed somewhere, but I could not find it in the by laws.
2) Build a better boat ramp for Cedar Lake. The current one is almost impossible to access, and put a boat in the water from. A new ramp could be built at the recreation area, off to either side, and be safe not only for those at the beach, but for the boaters themselves.
And the number one, thing for the Town to do is:
1) Stop promoting the development of land along old Route 15 unless you are willing to supply town water and sewer to the area as well. What developer today is going to consider building a retail, or business area without those town services? Too much risk with sinking a well, and building huge septic systems. This is the 21st century, not 1962.
That being said, it is only logical for the next step to be building a water larger treatment facility. Face it, if you are going to encourage growth to add to the tax base, then you need to spend some money to make some money.
So, there is the list. Random, I know, but I am sure some of these things have crossed your mind as well. Now, your mission, if you decide to accept it, is to forward this post onto to others. Let them read it, and pass it on. It's fodder for thought, and thought encourages action.
Oh, and one more thing:
We need a freakin' movie theater in this town!
Sorry. That one just escaped.