Letter: Not our idea

Not our idea

Editor of the Reformer:

To read that Sheriff Keith Clark apparently feels he has received a raw deal regarding the disastrous launch of his planned detention center in Rockingham beggars the imagination. To complain that citizens are leery of a project for which he has provided no budget, no concrete plans and no avenue for meaningful input is ludicrous.

It wasn't the idea of Rockingham residents to jam a 120-bed detention facility into a residential neighborhood in Bellows Falls — no, that idea resides with the Sheriff and Senator White (who live in Putney) and Rockingham town officials (who live in Windsor County and over in New Hampshire respectively).

It wasn't our idea to try to circumvent citizen input on a project that is going to have enormous impacts on the area. It wasn't our idea to create a complicated shell-game of ownership between the Sheriff's Office, the Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation and DEW Construction of Williston in order to take advantage of newly-available tax credits. What was our idea, once this arrogant plan was announced and we were told there was nothing we could do about it, was to come together and try to give Rockingham -and area- residents a voice in their own future. Sheriffs come and Sheriffs go. Citizens — and detention facilities — remain.

We need and deserve to have a voice in this process. Sheriff Clark has no one but himself and his shockingly naive team of enablers to blame for the firestorm of resistance he has encountered.

Charles Hunter, Rockingham, Jan. 21


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