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 5, 2008
A Time Of The Signs
There's something new hanging from the utility poles on Main Street: Banners. These banners are just like the ones that one sees in Boston, and in other tourist towns in Massachusetts. The banners that were placed on the poles a week, or so ago, and read, "Welcome to the Town of Sturbridge", and there is a large Old Sturbridge Village logo in the center followed by "Home of Old Sturbridge Village". The colors, a red and sort of a dark yellow, that were chosen for the banner go great with many of the colors around Main Street.
The banners give a sense of uniformity to the jungle of utility poles that line Main Street. They also show the visitor that we know who we are, and take pride in what we have to offer.
Some thought was put into this project, although it take forever to get them out of the town administrators office.
Besides the actual banners, the very idea of them is a good sign. ( Great pun, but not intended.) For one, it shows that Town Hall does actually acknowledge that we are a tourist town. This is big. Why else would the banners be hung? Certainly not for the locals. The "official" acknowledgment of our towns status will be a good thing when other improvements are suggested, and made in the future.
The current banners are seasonal, and may be changed as do the events here in town, I imagine. This was the less expensive way to go. Verizon charges $3000.00 for permanent banners, and the actual status of the utility poles on Main Street is tentative since the town wants to bury the lines sometime this century.
We could be on a roll. Next we should think very seriously about a large "Welcome to Sturbridge" sign on Route 20 right before Route 131 heading west. Looks like it could be a great job for the high school. The whole design and construction of the sign would be a great lesson to be taught and learned. It would be a win-win. We'd get a stellar job done, for a lot less money, and the students would have a hand in constructing something for the world to see and admire.
Now, let's see how long the banners stay in place. This being Sturbridge and all, I have a feeling that as great as these are, there is something in the wings that will dampen the spirit of the signs.
Call it a hunch.
And, speaking of signs, the new sign by-law (something I have yet to fully understand its purpose) has been in effect for a few months now, but there are still businesses that are ignoring the by-law. Maybe it's me. As I said, I don't really understand the purpose of the by-law to begin with, and maybe others are having a hard time understanding it, too.
Click here to read the by-law.