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, March 9, 2011
It Has Turned Into Quite The Tea Party
Board of Selectman Chairman, Tom Creamer said, "I am frustrated by this whole thing. No one has directed the town not to open the doors."
The chairman also stated that there was a safety issue by directing the pedestrian traffic along the street to the rear of the building, and that by not opening the doors, the town was promoting that unsafe practice.
The chairman also stated that only the architect had told them that the doors could not be opened legally. The architect has not provided any documentation to back up that claim, either.
It has been more than six months, and nothing has been done.
(really deep breath, and pause...one...two...three...breath again...)
When I first read the original report in the "Sturbridge Selectmen Notebook" in the Town Common I almost went completely "Charlie Sheen".
Is it true that front doors of the new multimillion dollar restored / refurbished / rebuilt town hall are not being opened not because of some mandate from some American with Disabilities Board of Governors, or some cease and desist order from the state, or because some one lost the key, but it is because the architect said in passing, "Oh, I wouldn't use the front doors. They don't meet the ADA code".
The town has not met the requirements since the American with Disabilities Act became law with the sidewalks along Route 20 in Fiskdale, yet we still allow pedestrians to use the sidewalks. In fact, we insist that our residents clear the snow from those non-ADA compliant sidewalks (now there's an argument for residents to refuse to clear the snow).
Alright. So what's next?
"I have very little faith in the architect," selectman Scott Garieri stated.
Really? Great. Glad we hired them.
The Town Administrator, Shaun Suhoski, was asked by the Chairman of the BOS if the town had anything in writing telling the town not to open the doors.
"No.", said Suhoski.
"Open the doors, " said Garieri.
"I don't want to open them until we can be sure," said selectman Mary Dowling.
Be sure of what? If you wait to see if they are compliant, which they are, you will wait until the next building restoration. If you want to hasten things along, open the doors, and use them. The enforcement side of things always acts faster than the just asking a question, and getting an answer back. If you done wrong, they will find you. Don't worry.
Suhoski then stated that they did not ask the town counsel if the doors were in violation, but only asked him about how to get a variance. This is like calling AAA for a jump start without attempting to start the car.
It was at this point, during my reading of the original article in the Town Common, that my socks actually exploded from my feet and shot across the room.
This how you fix the problem: Open the doors. Leave them open. Lock them at night, and in the morning, open them again. Allow people to walk through the doors, both ways.