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, December 10, 2008
They Gots No Vision
Dec 10, 2008
Big park plan at old camp cooly received
By Craig S. Semon TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
STURBRIDGE— A bemused town administrator and baffled Board of Selectmen expressed bewilderment Monday night over a proposal for a memorial garden about three-quarters of the size of a football field. The garden would commemorate the former Camp Robinson Crusoe, which used to be an outdoor retreat primarily for New Yorkers. Conservation Commission Chairman David M. Barnicle talked yesterday about creating a 175-foot by 250-foot lawn-memorial garden where the camp was located. “We want to take down all the white pine. We want to take down all the vegetation. We want to drub the roots,” Mr. Barnicle said. “And then we want to chip everything that we have taken down and use the chip material for the ground cover. And then, in four or five corners, we want to do some planting.”
The camp site consists of 826 acres that the town purchased for $3.8 million from Old Sturbridge Village in 2007. Located at Old Sturbridge Village, the property was closed because of unsafe conditions at 15 buildings on the campgrounds, but they have since been removed and the area is now open for recreation. Mr. Barnicle said the proposal was the brainchild of Robert J. Briere, who did not attend last night’s meeting. Mr. Barnicle said Mr. Briere had talked to some of the former campers about the possibility of developing a fund to pay for maintenance. “If somebody has to go there and mow the lawn, that’s crazy. That’s an expense that we don’t want,” Mr. Barnicle continued. “If somebody has to go in and remove a trash barrel, that’s an expense. We don’t want to add expenses to this.” Mr. Barnicle said he would like to see some benches there so people would have a place to sit and contemplate. “And, as it happens, when you take down all those sticks, the white pine sticks, you’re looking straight out to one of the larger of the ponds,” Mr. Barnicle said. “It’s really pretty. It’s a really, really very nice venue.” Town Administrator James J. Malloy said he hated the idea. “The idea of putting a common or a big lawn that isn’t a lawn the size of football field next to a pond isn’t a great idea,” Mr. Malloy insisted. “It’s better the way it is and if it goes more natural, that’s even better with the exception of the trail.” Even when the dilapidated buildings stood on the old campground, Mr. Malloy said, it was possible to walk through and visualize how beautiful that land could be without the buildings on it. “The contractor that we ended up with, even though he was the low bidder, did a beautiful job removing those buildings and leaving most of the trees there,” Mr. Malloy said. “One of the beautiful things about this parcel is the fact that it is heavily wooded, has a nice trail on it.” Selectman Mary Blanchard agreed and questioned why the town would have a memorial for Camp Robinson Crusoe, which catered to out-of-towners. Selectman Steven G. Halterman said he was also confused by the mammoth size of the project, as well as using chip material for ground cover rather than having grass. “I’m not sure how that’s going to come off without costing the town annually,” Mr. Halterman said. “As soon as we start talking about that, then I think we’re talking about asking the town for a budget item. And I again, I’m not sure where it would go.”
It takes vision to see things as others can't, or won't. Leaving things to revert back to nature is fine, but limits many from using, and enjoying an area as well. To see what one park in Northampton looks like amongst the pines go to: