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Residents talk about Greenfield’s future

GREENFIELD — Some of the town’s residents would like to see more bike paths wend their way through Greenfield, more access to the Green River, more solar parks, and they’d like to see the town go back to a more “traditional” community like it was in the 1950s and 1960s, while moving forward with the times.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hylton’s documentary film, “Save Our Land, Save Our Future,” inspired about 40 people Wednesday night to share their thoughts about how to make Greenfield a better place to live.

The film, which was shown by Greening Greenfield at the Second Congregational Church on Court Square, attracted more than 60 people and about 40 stayed afterward to discuss what they’d seen and heard.

Committee chairwoman Nancy Hazard led the group in the discussion and said the film was being shown at the perfect time — just about a month before the town’s Planning Board begins its review and revision of the town’s Master Plan.

Greenfield Historical Commission member Marcia Starkey told the crowd she enjoyed the documentary and said it made her feel thankful that she lives in Greenfield and New England, where she believes more progress to stop sprawl has happened over the years.

The film asked the question, “What will your town look like in 20, 50 or 100 years?”

Some in attendance said they’d like to see a town where you can walk to most of the places you need to go. Others said they’d like to see zoning regulations improved to prevent sprawl.

What everyone seemed to agree on is they’d like to see Greenfield’s downtown a welcoming place and some of the open space on the outskirts preserved.

They said they didn’t want to see Greenfield become like some of the small towns and cities featured in the film — dilapidated and broken.

Those who participated seemed hopeful that a new and improved Master Plan will do the trick.

It wasn’t just Greenfield residents who attended. About a dozen from surrounding towns came to watch the documentary and bring ideas back to their governments.

All in all, it seemed most in attendance wanted to take Hylton’s advice to make the “ideal communities of tomorrow look like the ideal communities of yesterday” with lots of sidewalks, shade trees, varieties of homes and safe downtowns you can walk to.

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