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Editorial: Orange vision

You don’t have to live or work in Orange to recognize that the community has had to weather some rough economic times in recent years.

Like many other communities in Massachusetts, it has struggled to find a new foundation to replace its former industrial and manufacturing base.

That, however, may be changing.

As a series in The Recorder this week showed, a number of people in Orange — town officials, merchants and residents — envision “going green” as the main ingredient to create the right mix for a newer and stronger economic foundation.

It’s an idea with plenty of possibilities.

As the stories pointed out, the “eco” movement has many components tied to the outdoors and environment from entertainment and cultural events to businesses that have tapped into some part of the green economy. This can range from landscape design to construction of eco-friendly homes and offices, to sustainable energy.

A few of these building blocks already exist, beginning with the town itself.

“Orange has natural resources other towns would die for,” said Community Development Director Kevin Kennedy. This includes nearby forests and Quabbin Reservoir land, the Millers River and farmland in town. It also can include those little oases of green such as Butterfield Park. The town has applied for a grant to help pay for improvements to the park, which officials say will help make it more of a center for recreation and different uses, whether it be youth league games or family reunions.

Other building blocks are events such as the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival or boat rentals out of the new boathouse for use on the Millers River. These are events and opportunities that attract both people inside and outside of Orange.

All of these help draw positive attention to Orange, a new focus that could open the door to discussions with businesses looking to take advantage of what the community and area have to offer.

“We need to get the word out what a great time it is to invest in Orange,” said Kathy Reinig, Orange selectmen’s chairwoman.

Indeed, this continuing discussion is an investment in Orange and the future, one that is more green. And while the town may not have the financial resources to undertake a transformation on its own, there are other kinds of resources, from its residents to the shared attitude that backs such a vision and welcomes others from elsewhere to get involved.

We look forward to seeing the different segments of the community come together to turn this vision into a reality.

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