Editorial: Make a connection
It’s time to get over the long-standing bump in the road in Deerfield-Whately relations.
That means connecting their neighboring industrial parks, a move that would go beyond town boundaries for the common good of the area — and one that could possibly benefit economic growth.
True, that view of the change — as history shows us — isn’t universally shared.
For decades, there have been requests and petitions that have sought to build a connecting road — roughly 200 feet long — connecting the two parks, which butt up against each other.
All of these efforts have essentially revolved around the issue of truck traffic and safety in Whately ... since tractor-trailer trucks now have to travel through residential neighborhoods along Long Plain Road and Pine Street to get to that town’s park.
A road connecting the two parks would reroute much of the traffic through Deerfield’s industrial park and on to Route 116.
To date, Deerfield’s selectmen have rebuffed such requests while expressing concern about the impact that increased truck traffic would have on their roads.
This time around, Bayer MaterialScience, which produces high-performance plastics in a factory in Whately, is pushing the issue. The company has recently bought an additional 11 acres in the park to allow for future expansion.
Naturally, Whately selectmen have said they support Bayer’s request. Of course, Whately has backed similar requests in the past.
Now the issue once again rests with Deerfield.
We don’t know if there’s a different attitude or way of thinking among selectmen or residents sitting on the Deerfield Economic Development and Industrial Corp., but it’s time to take a different view from the one where Deerfield’s industrial park streets are only there for the benefit of Deerfield. Instead, see it as a neighborly approach that will alleviate some of the ongoing safety concerns in Whately.
And if the concern is still over the wear and tear to the industrial park roadways, then perhaps that’s something that can be part of negotiations when it comes to another request from Bayer, that of hooking up to Deerfield’s sewer system. Perhaps money for road maintenance on the Deerfield side can be part of the bargain.
It’s time to connect the two parks.