First and foremost, let me say that my heart goes out to every resident that was affected by the flooding in 2011 which inundated The Spruces.
No one should be put through the pain of losing their home, no matter where they live. Sure some people may choose to live in disater-prone areas, but it seems to me that the idea of the Hoosic River overflowing it's banks, and causing the damage that it did, was unthinkable.
Truly, this was a disater. And the fact that Williamstown is coming together to figure out what to do about those still in harm's potential way, makes me feel all warm inside.
Sure, there may be arguments over where exactly to relocate The Spruces, but the fact that everyone is coming to the table makes me glad that the angry and hateful rhetoric that seems to be taking over the national dialogue is clearly absent here.
I am hopefull that in the next few weeks and months, a solution will be reached that will be amenable to all those involved.
Whether that be the revitalization of certain downtown properties, or the use of some of the open space available somewhere else.
In a recent column, I feel I made a bit of a mistake. I talked about open space and urban sprawl in relation to the relocation of The Spruces.
I realized I was wrong after reading a few of the letters from residents of The Spruces.
As much as it pains me to say it (being the greenie liberal that I am) I really think that the best idea would be to use a portion of land that isn't previously contaiminated, and, perhaps, maybe on the list of conservation lands.
Yes, once my wife figures out where in Williamstown we will buy our house, I absolutely want the picturesque mountain views and wildneress around me.
I am also not saying that the development of the Photech or Water Street sites wouldn't be a good thing. I think it would be great. But, as a greenie, I don't think I would be so comfortable putting anyone in harm's way of some future potential contamination problem. I know it would be cleaned up beforehand, but who knows what kind of invisible evil might lurk unbeknownst to everyone.
I know: probably none once cleanup is complete. But it would seem to me there has to be some place around town that is already clean and ready to go.
No matter what, this will be a tough decision for everyone, but at least it will be a decision that everyone makes.
Sure, some will be unhappy with the outcome for whatever reason, but at least no one can say they didn't have a say.