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

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Parking Problems In Sturbridge?

Parking is something that Sturbridge lacks, and has lacked for years.  In the 1988 Master Plan a call for municipal parking was listed as being a necessity, and the subject has come up over the years as businesses were not able to do business without more parking.  There have been parking "wars", such as the one between the old owners of the Whistling Swan, and the owners of the Boardwalk Plaza next door.  The old owners are long gone, but the sentiment, and signs warning of Whistling Swan parking at the Boardwalk Plaza remain.  I don't have a clue as to why an agreement cannot be worked out.  A lease, maybe?

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Not the sign erected, but the
message is the same.
Coutesy of:
Today, T,J. O'Brien's is feeling the parking pinch from its next door neighbors, as well.  The new owners of the old Basketville building are locating their dentistry practices in the recently refurbished building, and plan to lease the remaining portions of the building.  A restaurant is planned for the lower level of the building.  The current parking lot, owned by the dentists, had been used on occasion over the years, by agreement with Basketville, for overflow parking at T.J's.  Even when Basketville was no more, T.J.'s maintained the lot, insurance, and parked their over flow in the lot.

Recently the new owners of the Basketville building erected a sign at the entrance to their lot warning that only parking for their building was allowed, and that violators would be towed.  It also stated on the sign that video cameras are being used.

One side is disappointed, and angry they will not be able to use the lot for their restaurant, the owners of the lot want to use the lot they own for their businesses, and restaurant.

I understand both sides, but the owner of the lot has say as to how the lot is used, and they have chosen to have the lot service their property.  Nothing wrong with that, they own it.  Would it be nice to allow some overflow parking from TJ's into the parking lot?  Yes, but business is seldom nice.  Business is business, and if the restaurant that will open at the old Basketville building takes off, then what?  Where do their customers park?

Comes back to the need for municipal parking in town.  Some towns have bylaws mandating the use of privately owned downtown parking lots to be accessible to all, but most have a lot set aside for public parking.  Even then, there would be some walking after one parks.  We are a town that is spread for a few miles along Main Street, and one lot would not be enough.  Until that happens we can expect more parking drama, and that does impede businesses, and growth.


  1. There will be more Parking Wars as 2 more restaurants are expanding and do not have the required parking and must make an agreement with nearby businesses as part of their expansion agreement. Who wants to walk in winter to another businesses parking lot that may or may not be plowed and sanded properly and the fact that the sidewalks are not cleared off consistently will create problems in the future.

  2. What's mine is yours?Sunday, February 24, 2013

    I wonder how much time and money the town has spent, is spending, and plans on spending this? I think we are now about to spend another sum of money to have someone tell us what is actually on Main Street.
    We already know what is on Main Street.
    Do we know the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result?

    What happened to the idea of making sure a business had suitable parking before okaying their business proposals?

    I, too, understand the T.J.'s and old Basketville issue, but don't like the idea of strong arm tactics to make an owner share his or her parking lot.

  3. "......but don't like the idea of strong arm tactics to make an owner share his or her parking lot."

    Why should she share her lot? If you saw the time and materials that went into making that former dirt pathway into a level parking area, I'm sure you'd understand why steps are being taken to insure only patrons of that building are using it. Perhaps the owners of TJ's should have come forward early on when the ton's of materials were first dropped there with an offer to help share the expenses. Now she can lease use of the lot to them.


Anonymous comments not accepted, and will be rejected. Please use your full name. Choose "Name / URL" and enter your name, and your name ONLY. Leave "URL" blank.