Letters to the Editor - December 1
Bad firehouse decision, lost opportunity
The decision by Frank Gallogly to withdraw his offer to purchase the former Salisbury firehouse and adjacent storage building seems to me an economic opportunity lost to the town of Salisbury. The action by three members of Planning and Zoning in not approving the prospect of the sale was, in my opinion, inexcusable and extremely short-sighted. What has the town lost as a consequence of their action?
First, the $475,000 purchase price which would have helped pay for the new firehouse; second, the annual property tax revenue that Mr. Gallogly would have paid; third, the town must continue to maintain the unoccupied property at an annual cost of $11,000; fourth, the prospective buyer’s offer included restoring the old firehouse, keeping the green around the building as public space, and remodeling building 9A Sharon Road for commercial space.
How do any of these positives violate the town’s plan for conservation and development? It is not the responsibility of P&Z to make policy but rather to interpret the applicant’s plan to see if it conforms to established guidelines. The three negative voters on P&Z overstepped the authority entrusted to them, and the people of Salisbury are the losers as a result.
I am a strong advocate for affordable housing in Salisbury, but the idea of using the former firehouse for that purpose makes little sense from an economic standpoint. Far better for the town to have sold the building and used that money for affordable housing.
During the recent political campaign it was suggested that the attempt to sell the old firehouse was not transparent. The town’s selectmen were acting on a vote taken at a town meeting on July 29, 2010, to bring an offer to purchase to a town meeting for approval.
While the Gallogly offer was below the 2007 appraisal of the property, most people realize that property values everywhere have plummeted. Who knows if they will ever return to their former levels?
Almost five years ago, I had the honor of chairing the Firehouse Advisory Committee, composed of nine residents of Salisbury who devoted considerable time and thought in formulating a plan to replace the old firehouse with a new facility. Allow me to quote from Page 10 of the final report issued to the selectmen on April 3, 2007:
“The Finance Sub Committee considered alternative sources of funds to offset the purchase and construction costs of the New Firehouse. However, the final determination of funding methods rests with the Board of Finance, the Board of Selectmen, and ultimately, the residents of Salisbury. As assets of the Lakeville Fire District are turned over to the town, some of them may be utilized to offset project costs.”
The two principal assets of the Lakeville Fire District were Community Field and Number 9 and 9A Sharon Road.
It certainly seems to me that the selectmen were following a thoughtful game plan that had been approved at a town meeting by an overwhelming majority of the voters present.
Explanation for all the October snow
Do you want to feel less shocked by Storm Alfred? Here is how I handled it: Mother Nature pondered about all those green leaves that refused to let go from their branches. “What to do? It would require super strength to release them all. Ah! A real heavy, wet snowstorm and maybe some wind, too ...” she thought.
And so she gave it her best. Now I see the whole episode differently. I’m not resentful of that horrible disaster, but realize that Mother Nature’s logical solution for releasing those stubborn green leaves was the wise procedure, regardless of all the human suffering involved.
Florence Vining Thomen
Another Night of a Thousand Pies
What event gives everyone in town an opportunity to contribute to a good cause, have a good time and eat well? Kent Affordable Housing’s (KAH’s) annual Night of a Thousand Pies. Almost miraculously, the event scheduled for Nov. 5 was reborn on Nov. 12.
Workshop leaders and bakers, dinner hosts and lunch staff rose to the occasion and reconstituted the parts of this all-day event. Whether people were involved in the baking or buying, eating lunch, giving or attending dinner parties, by Nov. 12 there was something for everyone to enjoy.
Needless to say, this didn’t happen without a huge amount of backstage scrambling by innumerable dedicated supporters. Planners worked ingeniously throughout the power failure to arrange for the new date. Some KAH board members rounded up signs and changed the date, some traveled to libraries with working computers so they could communicate with other board members who had taken refuge elsewhere. The result on Nov. 12 was another success story for Night of a Thousand Pies.
The Kent housing project in the works at present, the rebuilding of historic Stuart Farm into rental apartments, is the beneficiary of all this good work and good food. KAH thanks everyone who contributed to the organization’s efforts to bring affordable workforce housing to Kent.
Thanks to Sharon residents
Thank you so much, Sharon residents, for your support at the polls. I ran my campaign for selectmen on the grassroots belief that if you are accountable; if you are honest; if you truly care; if you talk with the citizens of Sharon; and if you are resourceful, especially in these difficult economic times, you will surely gain the trust of the populace.
Without private cocktail parties or expensive propaganda, without multiple newspaper ads, without endorsement from any political party and without any fundraisers at all, I was able to garner support from many, many Sharon residents. I am so grateful for your support and will absolutely continue to attend selectman meetings, offering my suggestions and expertise whenever appropriate.
Although I did not gain the seat, losing by four votes, I will still work and fight for a better Sharon. It was an extraordinary learning experience in many ways. So, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I plan to give it another go in two years.
Diamond served community well for a dozen years
With the end of November, Dean Diamond ends 12 years of service to the town of Salisbury as he has chosen not to seek reappointment to the Recreation Commission. On behalf of the entire commission, I thank Dean for his dedicated service to the people of Salisbury. He has been particularly devoted to youth sports through his coaching of soccer, ice hockey and baseball teams, all while helping to lead a very active family and business life.
His counsel was especially valuable during the search for a recreation director to replace the long-serving Art Wilkinson. Since helping to choose Lisa McAuliffe, Dean has been an active supporter of her efforts to develop and expand recreational opportunities for all citizens of Salisbury. We will miss his counsel and eternal good humor. Well done, Dean!
Louis J. Bucceri
Chairman, Salisbury Recreation Commission
Nothing is sacred with all of the holiday hype
Looks like the marketing big shots have really outdone themselves this time with several successful runs around end. They’ve finally just about buried any true meaning of a Thanksgiving holiday dedicated to gratitude and replaced it with one built on greed.
It used to be the only competition to this great family get-together was the Macy’s parade while you helped your grandmother cook, and a football game while you helped clean up.
Even those remnants of the old days have faded into today’s sales marathon.
No wonder many have replaced the traditional greeting with “Gobble, gobble!” choked out with the last bite while rushing away from the family holiday feast, so as to get in line for the real action. Midnight store openers. Black Friday madness. Small Saturday. Cyber Monday. Our Pilgrim fathers had no idea what they were missing.
And now it looks as though the fat cats who’ve been fighting over how to slice another horn-of-plenty pie have reached an agreement on an NBA season which will start on Christmas Day. Forget the original meaning of Christmas. Even Santa Claus, the original competition, is scared that his “Ho-ho-ho” might become “Happy Hoops!”
There’s an old saying that comes to mind: “Is nothing sacred?”
Skating at Salisbury School
Over the weekend, Habitat for Humanity wrapped up another enjoyable family skating party at Salisbury School. Besides our bakers and skaters, we’d like to thank Athletic Director Tim Sinclair and Josh Dalton. We were fortunate for all their help and the fine facilities.
John Pogue, Director