Letter to the Editor

On the Center Business District

Dear Editor,

My personal thanks and praise to Councilors Vecchia, DeMarco, Ferrino, Calla, and Letterie for voting “No” on putting the current Middle School property into the Center Business District (CBD).  I thank Councilors Vecchia, DeMarco, Ferrino, Boncore, Letterie, Christopher and Calla for voting “Yes” to take the residences, homes, houses at 15-16 Freemont St., 1,2, and 5 Burrill Terrace, and 207 and 211 Winthrop St. out of the CBD.   It was also wise to put the Madison Street address, currently a business, INTO the CBD.

Personal thanks to Councilors DeMarco, Ferrino, Vecchia, Calla, and Letterie for voting to hold on the Middle School endeavors until residents’, neighbors’, and abutters’ input is considered.  What they want and what they can live with is essential in a needs assessment process.

One thing I learned in my community organization class is that, in any kind of program development, needs assessment is essential. (In the medical model, needs assessment would include physical exam, symptoms, lab results, etc. that would bear out a diagnosis.)  If the “pulse” of the community isn’t taken, bad things can happen.  Misdiagnosis and maltreatment.  Failing to conduct true community assessment can come to haunt everyone.

Generally, needs assessment, goals, strategies, implementation follow in that order.  Finally, evaluation of the project is important to see if the project, program, “treatment” MET the assessed community needs.

Frankly, I fear that if the “Yes” vote prevailed it would have been Somerset Avenue all over again—tons of meetings, petitions, letters, flyers, and law suits.  All taking more than just 9 months.  I can attest to that.  In addition, faith in local government would also be seriously jeopardized.  

Putting the Middle School back into the Modified CBD is a wise move.  I was also glad to see a motion to get moving on what that property should look like and how it should be used.  The Council wasn’t just saying “No.”  It was saying “Yes” to further research, neighbor input, data collection and responsible development.

I feel, for the first time in a while, we can possibly move forward.  I feel, perhaps, for the first time, the Townspeople have been listened to.

Thank you all for what you do each day.  Best wishes to you and your families for a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Donna Segreti Reilly

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