This kind of hoarding is an illness, and if not treated early, can fully control ones life. The reasons given for such behavior range from "I just like cats.", to "I don't ever want to be caught short of canned pineapple." to "I want to finish reading that issue of Life magazine."
I saw a program on TV where a middle aged man collected all sorts of stuff he found at the curb on trash day. He'd bring his treasures home and store them in his garage, basement, and under one of the dozens of tarps in his yard.
"I could use this thing someday." It's too good to just throw away."
By spending time with the man, listening to him, and understanding just how much the behavior controlled him, the producers of the show, with the help of professionals, were able to begin the long process of desensitizing him tho his compulsion, and begin the separation process between him and his treasures before his wife left him.
Hoarding things for an emergency can be fine, if it s batteries for a flashlight for the "Storm Box", or bottled water for an emergency, but this isn't actually hording, but rather just stocking up.
Towns can hoard, too.
Towns can buy up a lot of land with the intent of preserving it from development, and keeping the town from being overbuilt. They will promote the recreational activities the land could support, and eventually, the towns people will concur, and vote to make the purchase.
Heck, sounds good.
Then another parcel comes up for sale, and the town grabs that one as well having done nothing with the first piece of land. This can go on for years. Each time another parcel, more promises of what it could be used for like ball fields, canoe launches, nature trails, and picnic groves, and nothing is ever done.
Volunteers finally step up, and organize. They plan out a trail system, get contractors to volunteer time, equipment, and materials, and rely on a crew of loyal towns people to volunteer their labor.
The town, in the meantime, looks for an appropriate logo to put on some signs at the entrance to the land.
When a town announces plans to purchase a property, and offers all sorts of plans for it, those plans should be part of the article entered into the town warrant for the purchase of the land along with the cost. Just putting in an article for the purchase of the land for a certain amount does not guarantee anything will ever be done with the property, in fact, the town could change the proposed use of the land to suit its needs at any time.
Hoarding of land by towns, just for the sake of hoarding, and then letting them sit does little for the town, except cost it money.
So, of course, I've been thinking. From now on if the town proposes to purchase land for a particular purpose it must be first proposed by an elected board. Call it the Land Acquisition Board. Now, when word is on the street that a particular parcel is up for sale, and the town is interested in it, the boards job will be:
- Have a definite purpose for the land that will be beneficial to those living in town.
- Develop, and institute a viable plan for that purpose for immediately after purchase, two years out, five years out, and beyond that.
- Research costs, and include them in the proposal.
- Develop a manner in which the costs will be covered beyond taxes. This would include membership fee's, grants, State and Federal money.
- Allow for input from the resident in town as to just how the land should be used. Allow for a variety of ideas beyond the original scope, and tailor the final plan to be as beneficial to as many in town as possible.
- And, finally, how will the town recover its original costs? Or will it? This must be included in the original plan.
Recently, some folks in town offered some plans for the Leadmine Property. It was nice to see. The land is the site of the very first co-ed summer camp in the nation. A part of Sturbridge history, of course, but a part of our nations history as well. Something should be done to make note of this. A bronze plaque on a large stone would be great. Of course that is like giving a dozen roses to ones wife. You give the roses, but the vase is too small, so you get a new one, and the table in not the best place to put it, so you buy a new table cloth, but it makes the walls look drab, so you repaint the room, only to find the curtains look dated, so new curtains, paint, tablecloth, and vase later the roses finally get placed in the center of the table.
By then, the petals begin to fall off the roses.
Placing a monument to Camp Robinson Crusoe is a great idea, but as announced at the meeting, there is a lot of housekeeping to do in the area beyond the building of trails. Much like placing a dozen roses in the middle of a thicket. It takes vision to see beyond the purchase and sales agreement. Town officials, if lacking vision, should rely on those that have it.
Like the middle aged hoarder of stuff that TV producers brought in professionals to help, the town needs help, and they will refuse a lot of it because they are "fine". It's gonna take some tough love, but in the end, things will be so much better for everyone.
Listen to those that have a vision, and if they offer a way to make it happen, listen harder. Then, when all is said and done, make it happen.