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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Really Quick Thought

I was just driving west on Route 20, a little west of Old Sturbridge Village when I saw a couple of DPW workers power sweeping the sidewalks.  The sand, and dirt of the winter season was being deposited on the road along the curb for the street sweeper to pickup at a later time.  There was also a new patch of concrete on the sidewalk around a utility pole.  The old square of concrete failed, and the DPW repaired it.  They did many repairs on the sidewalk a couple of years ago, and between the sweeping of the sidewalks, and the repair of failing concrete, they do an excellent job.

Now, my thought in the form of a question.  Why do we find it OK for the DPW to do this work?  Why are we  not all up in arms and making a commotion about our DPW spending their time sweeping sidewalks, repairing them, and making our Main Street look nice? Seems rather peculiar since they are adamant about not maintaining the sidewalks when there is snow on them, and the temperatures are a bit lower.  In fact, property owners that do not maintain the sidewalks in the winter season, and clear them of  snow, can be fined.  Why are property owners only responsible when the work is much tougher, the environment more arduous?  Why are the property owners not the ones out there sweeping the walks and repairing the old concrete?


It can't be because in spring time the weather is more conducive to working outside, and may be more enjoyable?  Naw.  Too obvious.  Maybe it is because concrete work is not really work, but a skill, and not something for the lesser experienced.

Could be, but, again, too obvious.

Well, whatever the reason, I think we have an honest to goodness double standard here.

It has been made very clear that the DPW is not able to maintain the sidewalks during the winter, and we should not be expecting  them to be doing it in the other three seasons.

Shame on us.

No matter that they do a great job, it is too much for them, and we as citizens of Sturbridge don't allow them enough funds to do their work year round.

Yep.  Shame on us.


  1. Could it be that the DPW only has to sweep the sidewalks once, while plowing snow is ongoing for months and months?

  2. Ooookay...
    I'm getting a vision...hmmm...not just any vision, but a tele-vision...

    Hey, Man, it's Maynard G. Krebs!

    "...Maynard lived in his own world with its own twisted logic. His name was also illogical, the "G" stood for Walter. According to the show's creator, Maynard was named after his Aunt Walter who was married to his Uncle Edith. His speech was full of colorful phrases such as "You rang?" and "Like, I'm getting all misty". But Maynard G. Krebs will always be best remembered for his response whenever anyone mentioned the subject of work. He would instantaneously shudder, and let out a plaintive cry of "WORK!?!"

  3. Now, there's a thought. I also think that the care and feeding of our highways, and by-ways have got to be on a level that is either all, or nothing. None of this taking the easy way, and leave the jobs that require heavy equipment, and the heart of an eighteen year old to the residents. You do know what will happen,too. A 52 year old resident will have a heart attack moving snow from in front of his property because the town does not want to use its heavy equipment, and would rather see an over weight middle aged man do it with a plastic shovel. Then there will be a few "I-told-you-so's" being said.

  4. Just a question. What keeps the DPW busy after they have finished Plowing? It is obvious during the spring and summer that there are road repairs and such to take up their time. After the big blizzard where we got 22" of snow the sidewalks were all cleared in one day with the equipment at the disposal of the DPW, why now would it cost $20,000?

  5. A thought provoking post Wally. Thank you.


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