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
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I Am Amazed...
I almost fainted when I read an article in the Worcester Telegram regarding a recent meeting at the Town Hall with Jim Malloy and the selectmen.
Seems that one selectmen was making a valid complaint about all the cigarette butts at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 131. Yes, there are a lot there, and at every intersection in town, but those are small potatoes compared to the BIG trash spread everywhere else. It was nice to see that those behind the table at the Town Hall have eyes strong enough to see the tiny bits of litter, that would mean that the humongous pieces of litter have left an even stronger impression.
This is a great step. Acknowledgment that there is an issue at hand is the first step to taking action to fix it.
As I read more of the article it almost happened again. Fainting was not was I was concerned about. I thought I was going to leave this earth for good. I moved the phone closer, and pre-dialed 911 just in case I went out. This is what I read:
“If you got 15 or 20 people out there for three or four hours, you could probably make a real dent,” Mr. Malloy insisted. “Every year that I worked here, everybody complains about that intersection …Yet, I don’t know anytime that I have ever seen anybody out there doing any work on that intersection, other than the guy riding around shredding all the trash into little tiny pieces.”
Holy Trash bag! There was an agreement that there is a problem at the very same meeting the problem was brought up, and by a totally different person! No adjournment and discussing it next month, it happened in the same evening.
My eyes began to go out of focus as I read on.
"The cigarette butt conversation was sparked from Mr. Malloy rattling off his suggested goals for the year. Mr. Malloy said he wants to work closely with all the of property owners at 370 Main St. (which includes Piccadilly Pub, McDonald’s, Sturbridge Host Hotel, Burger King, Yankee Spirits and D’Angelo’s) to develop a parking/landscape/design plan to give this property a “gateway” look for westbound traffic. In addition, Mr. Malloy wants to work with the current property owner at the mill on Holland Road/Route 20 to develop an eastbound “gateway.” Also on Main Street, Mr. Malloy said he wants to look into putting utility lines underground or move them to the rear property lines and obtaining prices for “period style” street lights. Other beautification efforts proposed by Mr. Malloy were working on obtaining any easement, or right of way, necessary to finish the sidewalk on the South side of Route 20 (Main Street), as well as develop a better maintenance plan for Route 20, which includes regular street sweeping, trash clean-up and landscaping. “There seems to be more interest in town right now to do these types of things than there ever has been before,” Mr. Malloy said. "
I felt the world slipping away as I read those words. The next morning, when I regained consciousness, I broke out into a smile that scared Mary to death.
It was as if I was reading one of my older posts. Jim Malloys words spoke not only of a plan, but mentioned specific items in the plan that needed to be addressed. Moving utility lines, period lighting, the sidewalk, a regular maintenance plan for Route 20, and the property at the intersection of Holland Road and Route 20!
This is so cool. It was like being a kid again and wishing for a pony, and waking up to find one living in your closet!
The exciting thing about this whole meeting is that issues were discussed, problems were admitted to, and plans for correcting them talked about. They did more in that meeting than anyone has in a very long time.
For one of the first times in many months, I read the paper about a meeting here in town and did not read about anyone being slapped silly, or being called a name. No charges were filed, no animosity. Just doing what they are supposed to do, and, from what I can see thus far, doing it well.
Now, on this positive note, let's see what happens next.
In the meantime I'll continue to dream out loud with my head pointed toward the Town Hall, seems the reception has improved there of late.