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
Friday, December 7, 2007
There's Real "Bozo"s in the Wastewater Debate
And I never really understood the quote from Forest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does." until today. The Town of Sturbridge hired an engineering firm to study the towns wastewater needs for the future. We spent a boatload of money to do so. The town hired them. One would think if the town hired them, then the town would be vitally interested in what they would have to report, otherwise they could have taken a shot in the dark themselves, and saved a bunch of money.
Well, despite the pleading of Town Administrator James Malloy, DPW Director Greg Morse, Selectman Arnold Wilson, Mary Blanchard of the Zoning Board, Planning Board Chairman Tom Creamer, and Alexandra McNitt Executive Director of the Central Mass. South Chamber of Commerce the board of Selectmen voted 4-1 for a waste water capacity of 1.1 million gallons per day, as opposed to the 1.4 recommended by the engineers. 1.5 is probably what is actually needed I'm told.
OK. Now, tell me why.
Why did those on the board vote against the engineers recommendations. Why did they vote against the recommendations of their peers? Just give me, and the rest of us in town an answer that we can swallow. Call the newspapers, ask to speak with a reporter, and tell them your reasoning. Go ahead, go get the phone.
Growth is inevitable, although controlled, planned growth isn't. I spent 25 years in Franklin. Growth took that sleepy little farm community to the town that was, at one point, issuing more building permits year after year, than any other town in the Commonwealth. The growth, they say was planned, however the character of the town was ruined. Don't let that happen here.
If growth in the town is going to happen, either from the town itself attracting businesses, or from folks just moving in, then it is only logical that one would have in place the town services to accommodate the expansion. If you don't, then just put a freeze on new growth, stop issuing building permits for houses, and stay locked in a the size we are at now.
You can't have it both ways, and if you think we can, then you either know something the rest of us don't, or are just stupid.
There. I said it. It took me a few paragraphs, but I finally said it. Stupid.
I don't think we are all on the same page with this growth thing, either. There is too much animosity, too many differing opinions, and too many shanagans at public meetings. Do we actually have a Master Plan for Growth for the Town of Sturbridge? I mean a real, thought out, written, published, and presented Master Plan of Growth. If we do, then I am sure the subject of waste water is in that document somewhere. How can we vote against the Master Plan? That is, unless we don't have plan.
Well, that would explain a lot. (See stupid above).
My thoughts are this: get on the same page, get a Master Plan if you don't have one, listen to the guys you hire, stop the name calling and slapping, and work together.
And one more thing. I'm 53 years old. I flush the toilet a few times a day, and this I know: my prostate isn't getting any smaller, and the way things are going, I'll be using those missing 300 thousand gallons a day in another few years all by myself.