On skatepark, Reformer’s editorial
Editor of the Reformer:
An interesting editorial on the Selectboard and the skatepark (Oct. 3). Since the public has never had a chance to weigh in on the advisability of giving a very popular public park to 100 or so skateboarders, how is it you know the opponents are a minority? You ridicule opponent’s arguments by quoting one anonymous letter? Two of the "vetoed’ sites you mention are one mile from downtown -- "too far away" for young people out for exercise?
Brattleboro, Oct. 4
More skatepark discussion
Editor of the Reformer:
First, I wish I lived at a place where the town could approve building a skatepark across the street from my house. Not because I am particularly interested in skateboarding. I don’t understand it and I’m not particularly interested in it. But I am interested in kids and families. I am interested in healthy, vibrant and progressive community development. I would like to live near a skatepark so that the children in our community would have a safely constructed and well-managed place to be physically active and happy.
The arguments against the skatepark seem weak to me. Let’s start with the idea of noise pollution. Has anyone listened to a basketball game played on asphalt? Should we be petitioning to Re-site the Crowell Lot basketball court? Or how about the sound of a 2-year-old squealing with delight on a swing. Maybe we need to Re-site the Crowell Lot swing sets. If we are truly concerned about noise for neighborhood, the real solution would be to Re-site Western Avenue.
As for safety, I would much prefer young skaters to have a state-of-the-art, well-constructed and maintained place to skate. The fact that it is on a busy road helps on both counts: it drowns out the noise and increases rapid access which is a significant safety factor. Further, a skatepark in the neighborhood will increase safety for everyone. The youth who use a town-owned and managed skatepark are good kids doing a positive thing. They will be there to observe and assist. I’m not a community planner, but I do know that "eyes on" is an important principle in enhancing community safety and vitality.
One final point. I work out of town as a program director. I have had to learn about effective management over the years and while I do not claim to be an expert, I have learned a few things about being effective. One of my biggest pet peeves is naked opposition without bringing anything of value to the table. That is my problem with the Re-site position. There is a pretense that the skatepark would be better off someplace else but no one from the Re-site side is saying anything specific about where to build or how a new site would alleviate the concerns they raise. In fact, protracted study into site selection by competent and reasonable people has resulted in the selection of the Crowell Lot. I think it’s a great site. I’d be open to another location, but no one is advancing a better location. And somehow, 3 years later, the call to re-open the site selection discussion is both wasteful and disrespectful of those who have been working diligently on this project.
Last, Chairman Gartenstein’s comment that the current size and scope of the project is significantly different is absolutely true. In fact, both the size and scope and every argument against constructing the skatepark is significantly diminished. It is, at best, a weak argument for undermining the good work of his predecessors.
Brattleboro, Oct. 5
Editor of the Reformer:
As the events of the Rockingham Free Public Library have unfolded over the past several months we, as the officers of the Bellows Falls Woman’s Club, would like our collective voices to be known as very positive supporters of the library.
Our club, organized in 1901 and admitted to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1913, has had a very special relationship with RFPL. One of the prominent goals of the General Federation is to promote literacy at all levels. Thus, for many years, our November meeting has had the theme of library day/literacy. To help promote this, our library has arranged for speakers from the staff, authors, and power point presentations. These have been very well received and we are appreciative of the library’s cooperation in providing these programs. In return, the club has made many contributions of books, DVD’s, audio books, tapes, large print books, money, and other items to help the library serve the community. The beautiful clock, which was recently repaired with club money, was a gift to the library from the club. When club members pass away, the club donates a memorial book on a subject specific to the deceased member’s interests or hobbies.
The Bellows Falls Woman’s Club has had a long standing relationship with the library and it plans to continue supporting our library in a positive way.
Officers and Executive Board
of the BFWC,
Judy Boynton, president,