Autumn in the North Cemetery.

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, March 20, 2009

First Rule Of Success: Play Well With Others And Share

I am impressed. Not so much surprised, but most definitely impressed.

Old Sturbridge Village has stepped up and is leasing an 18 room building on the site of the former Lodges at Old Sturbridge Village to the Town for temporary use for Town offices while the renovation of the Town Hall is underway. As Ann Lindblad of OSV stated, "I think it is a win-win for both the town and Old Sturbridge Village."

I think so, too.

The building, which has been empty since the closing of the Lodges a few years ago, will require little to make it inhabitable by Town workers. Some cleaning, maybe some painting, and the computer network is already being put in place.

This is a great idea. A vacant building is being used instead of trailers, or some other site, and the cost is modest compared to another option that scored high in the eyes of the Town. $60,000.00 for a years lease with an option for additional time at the same $5000.00 per month.

What is impressive is that OSV didn't try to make a killing here. The Town was stuck in a jam, and this space was available. It met the requirements that were sought by the town, and the price was right. OSV most certainly could have taken advantage of the towns predicament, but was fair.

More than fair.

A few things can come from this kind of collaboration. Continued trust, and a continued great working relationship between OSV and the Town, are but two. Town workers, selectmen, and the Town Administrator seeing a fruitful use for the property at 371 Main Street, and maybe being inspired to see something more there when their lease is finished is another.. A small taste of rental income may inspire OSV to actively plan for something more at the site as well. Call me, I have a lot of ideas. Income producing ideas. Those are the best kind. Keep in mind that fresh eyes on any project can offer ideas never considered before.

With the temporary Town Hall site now set, and a moving date seen to occur within the next month, we only have to sit back and watch the renovation at the Town Hall and Center School take place. That intersection of Route 131, Maple Street, and Old Route 15 is going to be one busy place for the foreseeable future.

As much as I like this idea, what I would like even better is a use to be found for the former Lodges site after the lease is finished. A use that would be both beneficial to OSV, and to the Town.

OSV, call me. We'll do lunch.


  1. I don't think that OSV lacks ideas for this property, its more of a matter of wetlands/ConCom getting invovled and stopping projects.

  2. Conservation Commissions across the nation are in place in order to protect wetlands when projects are built nearby these valuable resources. Rivers and streams carry the water we drink, and it isn't for any other reason than protecting the welfare of people that ConComS pay close attention to wetlands. The reader of the first comment, is sharing that negative tone that so many have worked hard to cultivate over the past two years. Do some research, read your child or grandchild's science book, pay attention and then maybe you'll be ready to appreciate the thankless job of conservation committee members across the country. The OSV land can be developed, but it must be responsible development which doesn't pollute the wetlands.

  3. The first post is correct. The town government has stood in the way of OSV becoming a full tourist venue. As the saying goes with the old political guard in this town: Save a tree, destroy a business.

    Change began last year... and it will keep on coming this year. That was a good post anonymous.

  4. Whoa!!! Time out, People!! Reread the article, and tell me,what the hell does leasing a building on route 20 to the Town have to do with Conversation Commision, or anything else to do with wetlands??????? Now, take a deep breath, reread, and comment again with something relevant. And, don't blame each other, you are all a bunch of morons this morning.

  5. Okay Ref, I went back and reread, and what the article had to say, "hey call me, I have a lot of ideas on how to develop this property". Well, so did others and ConCom saw issues. If that property is going to be turned into anything, ConCom will be the most difficult Board to get thru, not impossible but very difficult.

  6. The land is already developed. Converting it to another use should not be an issue. If the ConCom has stood in the way of other projects on the sight I'd like to know what they were, and what the objections were. Is it because there is a stream beside the land? Is it because there are wetlands out behind the buildings? Please. ConCom can bluster all they want, but when they are challenged, they will have to back down. What have they done regarding the business on 131 that stores wrecked cars and the fluids drain into the wetlands? The issue has been around for many years, yet nothing is done. What the article was talking about was using the site for other uses, not invading wetlands, or interrupting the flow of streams, or endangering freshwater mollusks.

  7. And, this is directed to the anonymous moron that wrote that the town has stod in the way of OSV becoming a "full tourist venue". Well, what the hell more does it need to be a "full tourist venue"? A freaking ferris wheel? What has the town done to stymie OSV in it's growth? Why is the number one living museum of its kind in the northeast not a "full tourist venue" because of the Town of Sturbridge? And, enough about the old tree already. It's done and over. If you can't move on to other business in the town, you shouldn't even open your mouth. Are you still upset about the fall of the Alamo as well?? Damn Mexican Army, eh?

  8. The one thing I would like to see on this or any other blog is to be able to share an opinion without someone coming back and calling names, "moron", "stupid opinion" etc. Its a difference of opinion, we're Sturbridge not Stepford!

  9. Dear Anonymous,

    Anyone can share an opinion here, but it has to be on the subject at hand. The article is about OSV leasing a building to the Town of Sturbridge. Nothing about wetlands, beavers, ConCom, or anything remotely related. To make a comment about anything other than the subject at hand is not only "stupid", but moronic, and only written to incite an argument from any angle. And what the hell are you talking about, "a difference of opinion"? The article is about one thing, and one thing only, did you write another one in your head and forget to share it with us??

  10. Yeah - the next thing you know people will post videos, cartoons, pictures of others' homes and the such if there is a difference of opinion. Who would do such a terribly intrusive and disturbing thing with those their opinions differ? Hmmmm-thats worth its own discussion!

  11. The Town of Sturbridge does virtually nothing to stymie development, if anything it tries to encourage it. The population of the Town has soared in the last 5 years because the Town allowed major residential complexes to be built in every corner of the Town. The town also is pretty liberal when it comes to the building of strip malls. There are about six strip malls on #131 from Bedrock to the Fiske Hill Plaza, a distance of probably one mile. How much development does one small town need.

    The town is constantly maligned by people with political agendas and those that don't understand land use development law.

  12. Kazien, those are not strip malls on Route 131. Those are very small shopping complexes and they are there because they cannot be built anywhere else. The town has grown residentially and those residents want more to do in town.

    Ed Goodwin and his ilk wish those new residents never moved here in the first place. He, Halterman and White are just angry that the new residents and fed-up longer term residents are finally organizing and over-running their insular political group that has controlled this town too long. Goodwin takes third place in the election. Bet on it.

  13. I have heard that residents moved here because of the small town charm not because they want a shopping haven after they move here.

    How about working on light industry growth for our tax base and employment opps. We certainly don't need more retail to add to empty storefronts. If ya haven't noticed lately - the big boxes are closing everywhere! Mr. Goodwin and Ms. Gimas understand that - the others obviously do not.

    What happened to Mr. Creamer's cartoons, videos, pictures, and posts of disparaging residents? Does he not want all the new residents in town to know his ruthlessness if they disagree with him? I challenge him to place them ALL back (especially since he attests to its truthfulness - he has nothing to hide right?)

  14. This last anonymous poster must be a doofus. Here is the American Heritage Dictionary definition of a strip mall:

    (n.) A shopping complex containing a row of various stores, businesses, and restaurants that usually open onto a common parking lot.
    It is also known as "a shopping complex."

    That last post from anonymous is much like his or her non-definition of strip mall: it defies logic.

    And here is the definition of doofus in case you didnt know: doofus - Definition [dōṓfəs]
    (n.) Slang An incompetent, foolish, or stupid person. Source: The American Heritage®

    I rest my case, doofus.

  15. Why do people who want to live in an area that's saturated with commercial development move to a rural community like Sturbridge. If people feel a need to live near large big box retail establishments why wouldn't they move to Natick, Shrewsbury or the Route #5 area of West Sprinhgfield. It is funny that Creamer @ Ehrhard proclaim there love of small town Sturbridge but then want to profoundly change it and turn it into another example of urban sprawl.

    Despite the Attacks on Ted Goodwin the truth is there are more retail stores in Sturbridge now than there was when Goodwin took office. Count the # of stores in the strip malls along Route #131.

  16. Well said Kazien!


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