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A little credit

Conway’s selectmen have taken a certain amount of heat in the past couple of weeks, particularly in regard to the future of the 11 acres near the town center that were formerly owned by Greg Rose.

Taking what can only be called an ill-advised approach on the property’s future, it left plenty of residents thinking they were left out of the process. Reaction has put the selectmen on the defensive and rightfully so since the type of decisions involved with town land and its future should be handled in an open manner where the outcome should be one that everyone understands.

But as much as we think selectmen can do better in fostering transparency in town government and the type of discussions that promote better understanding and consensus, we think that the board’s actions have, unintentionally, jump-started a community dialogue on what should be done with the land.

Besides the selectmen’s idea of building a new municipal complex on the land, suggestions have included a highway garage, soccer fields and other recreational uses as well as affordable and senior housing or some combination. And while some of these potential plans have been tossed around by the different committees and boards since the property was acquired in 2006, nothing has emerged to put the town on course toward a specific answer.

We don’t think that will continue to be the case. Although individuals and the various municipal panels may have a specific preference when it comes to the development of the property, we don’t think that a plan will continue to simmer on the back burner. Many residents are now energized to become part of the process that will hammer out a solution. It begins with meetings called by the Planning Board, on Jan. 10, and selectmen four days later.

As Planning Board Chairwoman Diane Poland said in a recent Recorder story, “We’ll have a very rich meeting.”

And selectmen deserve a tiny bit of credit for sparking the interest, even if all the attention came about for all the wrong reasons.

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