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
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Local Man Has Great Idea
The idea is a simple one. Main Street on Route 20 would be named Main Street West, and Main Street on Route 131 would be renamed Main Street South. The reason for the change would to help customers find businesses, and instill civic pride. He compared Main Street here in town to Worcester's Main Street where the road is designated with north and south. "If anybody goes to Worcester and asks a Worcester-ite where Clark University is, they say, 'Main South'. It's something that the people of Main South really close to them. It's not part of Worcester, it's Main South, baby. My feeling is let's get this kind of feeling of presence in Strubridge", Barnicle said.
I agree with him that it will ease the navigation of our long, multi-talented, Main Street. Boutique shops to the west, and the town center, and more conventional retail to the south. Our Main Street is not like others. It occupies two routes US Route 20 from east to west, and MA Route 131 from north to south. It also has a "dog leg" turn in from of the Super 8 Motel where it begins its southerly journey.
The change is simple, and would be a great aid in navigation for locals, and visitors alike. I am not too sure about the civic pride aspect of it. I have been in a lot of places that separate themselves from the town, or city, by their geographic location, and misplaced civic pride. From the "Projects" of Brighton, to the "Flats" of Norwood, each had what they referred to as civic pride, and maybe it was, but they also isolated themselves from the rest of the community. They had their own place, their own rules.
We don't need anymore of that. No. No Main Westies, or Main Southies for me. Leave it as a geographic designation only, and let the neighborhood designations evolve on their own.
The Board of Selectmen agreed that the idea was a good one, but had some concerns. They are concerned about the "burden" the change would" place on residents, business owners, emergency response personnel, the post office, and the town, who would all have to adjust to the change." the newspaper reported.
Adjust? I have to be missing something.
Selectman Mary Dowling said, "I think it is a great idea, but we need to know what the residual costs to businesses or town will be".
Residual costs? Now I know I am missing stuff.
The paper also reported that the BOS agreed to assemble a committee that would consist of a selectman, the towns post masters, the police and fire chiefs, and the members of the Town Hall to discuss what the implications would be if the change were made.
Implications? This isn't the Marshall Plan. This is adding the word "West" to one sign, and "South", to another. The only "burden" would be changing ones address on checks, stationary, credit card statements, license, and whatever else you have your home, or business, address attached to. The cost? Whatever it takes the DPW to make a few new road signs, and to pay for some of those address changes, but if one just waits until it's time to reorder stationary it won't cost anymore than it normally would.
Sometimes, no, I take that back, a lot of the time, town government can make a lot work for a little job. Oh, I know they are only being thorough, but for something like this, that only needs to take a day, or so. Just agree that the idea is good, and has merit, then get all those people mentioned above for a meeting on the front lawn of the Town Hall. Once everyone is on the lawn, the Chairman of the BOS should point to the south and simply state, "That is Main Street South. It goes from over there, to the Southbridge line. Now, up thataway," he will say pointing to the north, "is Main Street West. It goes from where South Main starts, to the Brimfield line. Tell everyone to update their addresses, and we'll make the signs." Then adjourn. I think the police, fire, and post office will get it.
They all mean well, but I think they go a bit overboard because they feel they have to, or people will rise up. For little things, that are good ideas, and would be best put into place sooner, rather than later, I believe the people will not take up torches and pitchforks.
Of course, this IS Sturbridge...