Letter: Sustaining stagnation

You’ve got to love the way the Greenfield Town Council operates. They refuse the appointment of Mr. Mass, an exceptionally well-qualified candidate, to the Planning Board because he is perceived as pro-growth for Greenfield. Thus, then, the council is anti-growth. They think the mayor is stacking the Planning Board with pro-growth, large retail supporters, and the council doesn’t think that’s right. However, the council wants to staff the Planning Board with anti-growth people and yet they think that’s all right. What’s wrong with that picture? No wonder a minority of people who are anti-growth love this council.

A number of years ago a large majority of residents voted to rezone the French King Highway so that a large retail store could be built. However, this council has its own agenda and to heck with what the majority wants. This whole game between the mayor and the council is our own little Washington, D.C., squabble.

The term sustainability is constantly tossed around. From what I can figure out from Webster’s, sustainability means sustaining or basically keeping things as they are. Apparently, the council wants to keep Greenfield as it is, a quaint little New England town without the prospects of growth. If this council was functioning years ago, there would not have been a Rich’s or King’s or Big Y Plaza, not to mention BJ’s, Stop & Shop or Home Depot. What’s wrong with a large retail store on the outskirts of town in a useless pit? What’s wrong with providing part-time jobs for high school students, college students, the elderly or people who need a second income? What’s wrong with the town collecting thousands of dollars in taxes to help pay for the new high school, parking garage or municipal facility? Nope, just put that burden on the backs of our existing taxpayers. After all, this council doesn’t want growth in the form of a large retail business, a place where people can find a variety of reasonably priced goods without having to travel to Hadley, Athol, Northampton or Hinsdale. The council wants to sustain what we have — a stagnant, although quaint little New England town with ironically the name City of Greenfield.



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