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 19, 2010

Finally, They Are Beginning To Work Together

I just performed CPR on myself.

No. Not really, but almost, and I still might.

I was reading in the newspaper, the Sturbridge Villager, an article entitled, "It's down to details on tourist plan" "Planners Discuss Implementation", and the article went on to tell about the Commercial/Tourist District Revitalization Plan. The plan is designed to "improve the aesthetics and accessibility to the downtown area along Route 20 from the intersection of Brookfield Road to Cedar Street", so wrote Christopher Tanguay, a Villager staff writer.

By George, I think they've got it!!

After writing about the very same thing for over two
years, it was like a scene out of the Twilight Zone seeing those words in print, and they were not being put there by me.

To be completely fair, so many folks over the years have thought the same way, I can't lay claim to the idea, but after writing about it for so long it sort of becomes like one of your own.

I read further on that one goal of the Planning Board is to "attempt to address this year is the desire to create a 'physical and conceptual connection between the commercial/Tourist District and the Quinebaug River' ".

An actual connection between Route 20 and the river? Like, maybe a walkway from Route 20 to the river, and a footbridge to the other side of the river? The article mentioned the south side of the river having the better access. Hmmm. I like it. It would be like tying our commercial part of town, to the beautiful, natural part of town.

It's about time. I really like deja vu.

It was if the reporter for the Villager had been rummaging around inside my head, and writing things down as he found them lying around instead of attending a meeting.

The article went on to mention the walkability of the area, and installing crosswalks, median, and a concentration on pedestrian safety. The article concluded with mention of the industrial area at the intersection of Holland Road and Route 20 being up for sale and several parties being interested in it's development.

At that point, I finished the article, put down the paper, sat back in my chair and grinned. I grinned so hard I scared the bejeepers out of the cats.

A couple of things are at play here, either more folks are finally seeing the possibilities that our town has to offer under the right leadership all by themselves, or they have been reading this page, and taking darn good notes.

I want to believe it's the latter, but I know it is the former. Either way, one must give credit to the Planning Board here in town for working on, and completing the Commercial / Tourist District Revitalization Plan with the Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission.

Chairman of the Planning Board, Sandra Gibson-Quigley also had a great idea for forming a sub-committee with the Trials Committee to explore the ways a connection could be made between the Tourist District, and the Quinebaug River. The Town Planner, Jean Bubon suggested including members of the Conservation Commission, and local businesses on that committee, too.

Planning Board member, Russ Chamberland, offered advise on the best location for a river walk, and the organization, Merchants of Sturbridge intends to survey businesses about possibly using private parking for municipal parking after hours.

(sigh) It looks like that jumble of ducks we have been seeing for some time here in town, as we tried to get our act together, has finally lined up in a row. It's a very good start.

Now, all we need is the leadership to get them moving, and keep them moving.


  1. You are entirely correct. It will take leadership to make this happen. James Ehrhard is that man. He has been talking about such ideas for the last few years.

    I agree with your thoughts Wally and I am voting for Ehrhard to see them come to fruition.

  2. James Ehrhard is the last candidate that will keep this effort going. Ehrhard's priority is developing Route 15 and becoming a State Representative. Don't be fooled by the fact that he is quite a politician. If you compare what his message of today is, to the days during his last attempt to get on the Board of Selectmen, you can see what a politician he is. His goal is to become State Rep, don't let him use us as his stepping stone. We need someone who cares about the important Commercial Tourist Revitilazation, as well as our schools, infrastructure, recreation and tax positive growth.......not someone looking for a political career.

  3. Anonymous, where was James Ehhard mentioned in the article? And, isn't that what people do? They start off in a local small position, then move to a larger position, and then to a larger one? I think they call that politics, and that is normal. Do you think that once one runs for office here in town they have to stay here in town? What is wrong with a political career?


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