Here is my list.
- The triangle shaped median on Route 20 in front of the State Police Barracks needs help. this is the first sight visitors see when they roll off the Pike, or I-84, and it is barren except for some trees and bushes planted years ago and are out of control. Plant some trees, and prune/thin the tangle of bushes and trees already there. Don't plant 6 foot tall whips, plant real trees. Put one of those split rail fences around the perimeter like the one in front of OSV, and the little park at the intersection of Route 20 and Cedar Street. And, then place a large, well designed sign on the land for travelers to see. A wooden sign, not some metal thing made up in the Mass Highway garage. "Welcome to Sturbridge" it would say, and then maybe a phrase like Southbridges "Eye of the Commonwealth".
- Do the same for the islands at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 131. Sturbridge Pottery and Pioneer Oil have done well to do plantings on these sites, but more is needed.
- Cut down those ugly trees along the north side of Route 20 and Cedar Lake!! If they are there for erosion control, which I strongly doubt, then dump some rip rap on the banks. The trees are not only ugly, but block what would be a wonderful view right in the center of our town.
- Begin a street sweeping schedule that covers Route 20 from New Boston Road to Holland Road, Route 131, around the Common, and to Hall Road every week, and schedule it during the off hours as not to interfere with traffic.
- Litter. While getting municipal workers to take a few hours off on a Friday afternoon to pick up litter along Route 20 may be a great thought, it is not practical. Face it, it's the end of the week, and most folks are dead tired. The last thing an office worker wants to do is bag trash before the weekend. Hire someone. Hire a full time person to take charge of things like this, and the redevelopment of the down town area. Pay them. Volunteers are wonderful, but there are things you want to pay someone for, and this is one of them.
- Sidewalks along the south side of Route 20. Just do it.
- Re-build the granite block median along Route 20 in front of the Picadilly Pub and down to Cedar Street. The angle curbs should be removed, straight ones installed, and the granite block on the median removed and replaced with trees. Cambridge Street in Boston did this and the road is beautiful now.
- Period lighting is a fantastic idea for Rout 20 and Route 131. First we need to fix the utility poles along the way. They need to move them underground, or behind the buildings. This is not just for aesthetics, but because they violate the ADA, and if we don't address it, we will be paying through the nose for the violations. After we address the poles, new lighting can be installed. And none of that sodium vapor yellow industrial lighting either, white light would be best.
- And, about that Oliver Wight House that OSV owns. I know, I know, I've been on this soap box before, but it is sitting there begging to be made right. OSV wants cash, the town wants to maintain its small town charm. Beat the strip mall developer to the punch. Work out a deal with OSV, and use it for shops and a park. If the buildings can't be retrofitted, which I doubt they can't be, then remove them and make a green space with parking for the town.
- Institute a sign bylaw that makes all business signs conform to certain standards. Rid the area of the tacky signs, and don't grandfather any of them. If you want to change the look, you have to change the look. Period.
- Work with the owner of the property at the intersection of Holland Road to clean up the property. Tear down the fence, remove the trees and brush and Voila!! A wonderful green space and view as one enters the town from the west. Better yet, buy the building outright and go nuts with shops, restaurant, galleries. Maybe some outdoor dining around the mill pond?
- Picking up of litter from the roadside on a regular basis, and more permanent trash receptacles around town.
If planned, and thought out well anything is possible. The challenge was announced the other night by Jim Malloy, now lets see if the town will accept it.