A lost opportunity
Editor of the Reformer:
I attended the Bellows Falls Town Meeting last night and picked up the informational handout provided by Voices of Rockingham regarding the Liberty Justice Center.
Of the 14 points few are based on anything factual but are appealing to fear. I find it at times difficult to respond to people who have their hearts in the right place but are so stuck in negativism and mistrust it can be hard to move our town forward.
Over the years a few other projects and opportunities have been lost to our town because of this fear mongering. These opportunities have been completed by others who have received the benefits from them and any ill effects attached to them has been felt by our community.
This project would have been at a 20-year-old eyesore that looks like a bombed out building located on the confluence of the Saxtons River and the Connecticut River a few hundred feet below the sewer plant. Anyone presently who is approaching Bellow Falls driving north on New Hampshire Route 12 would see this site. This view would give them little reason to want to visit Bellows Falls. With the Vilas Bridge closed they would completely miss our down town area. Dutch Walsh accomplished the impossible and found someone willing to rehab that building. So with that opportunity squandered here is a fact, we will now be faced with a demolition cost of millions to remove this eyesore. Versus what could have been a very positive addition to our community.
Yes, once all the fear mongering and smoke cleared it would absolutely have had a positive effect. Anyone who knows Sheriff Keith Clark and his department knows he and his personnel run a progressive and well managed law enforcement department. Our current criminal justice system is broken, unaffordable and in need of new ideas. Keith Clark and his department wished to implement a new and well considered alternative to our current unsustainable system which is known to increase our jail population, is expensive monetarily and, more importantly, costly in lost human lives. So you can choose to follow the people who think you can't or follow the people who think you can. I can tell you for sure the latter leads to a much more productive, fruitful, happier life.
Ed Dinnany, Rockingham, March 1