Monday Shorts: A donation, an investment, a library expansion

Published: 3/11/2019 8:47:51 AM

Here are brief thoughts on some of the events taking place around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

Generous donation

We have to laud the Greenfield Stop & Shop for donating to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts $10,000 it got from the State Lottery Commission for selling a $1 million winning ticket.

While there is always a promotional side to the donation coin when private businesses publicize their giving, it was still extremely generous.

The money is the French King Highway store’s 1 percent commission on the winning ticket. We rarely see private businesses winnings donated to charity this way, and this move will feed lots of people. Stop and think:

The $10,000 will enable the Food Bank to provide 30,000 meals to people and families struggling to make ends meet.

After all...

Mohawk Trail Regional School District is investing $50,670 next year to jump-start more after-school programs.

In today’s world, it’s a great service for working parents if a local school can provide low-cost before- or after-school care, so we were encouraged to see Mohawk expanding what its schools are doing for its parents in this area.

According to Superintendent Michael Buoniconti, Mohawk’s after-school program will become financially self-sufficient – paid for by student participation – in three to four years. And the people who run the program promise to listen carefully to parents about what types of activities they would like for their kids. This responsiveness to parents’ desires is also nice to see.

Value a library

With all the debate in Greenfield about the value of its library, it was interesting to see that Ashfield residents are being asked to expand that town’s library offerings.

The library wants to add a fourth day to its schedule, as patronage has been steadily rising.

Belding Memorial Library trustees have told the Selectboard and Finance Committee they would like enough money to open Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – in addition to its current hours on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Library use has almost doubled over the last four years, Trustee Esther Coler said.

Of course, there’s a cost: about $10,000 per year. We hope the town’s voters consider the offer carefully because we believe in the value, power and importance of public access to knowledge, information and community. Libraries create that.

Better informed

State Sen. Jo Comerford continues to find new ways to keep her constituents informed about what she’s doing in the Legislature. The most recent example is a series of webinars her office is hosting about numerous bills she has filed or co-sponsored on a range of topics including education, health care, energy and the environment.

“I want constituents to be engaged, educated and to participate,” said Comerford.

Like our new senator, we hope her experiment works, strengthening democracy in our corner of the world.

Banking on progress

This summer, the state should know how much it will cost to turn the long-vacant First National Bank into a community and arts space like a black box theater.

We were thrilled to see our local leaders this month revive efforts to rejuvenate a building that could play a big role in the downtown’s growing arts and entertainment scene.

The city has spent more than a $1 million over time to bring the decrepit building to the verge of redevelopment viability.

The state has earmarked $3.5 million to finish the job, but only once solid plans are in place.

We support the move to do that by the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority and the mayor’s office, whose last major brick and mortar accomplishment downtown was the parking garage.

The project will be supported by Friends of the First National Bank, a new non-profit led by Linda McInerney, an extremely active member of the valley’s theater community.

Multi-use

Greenfield has the John Zon Community Center, a multi-use community facility that grew out of plans for a single-use senior center.

Now, some taxpayers in Orange are advocating a similar approach if that town replaces its Dexter Park School and/or Fisher Hill School in the near future.

Could a new school include a dedicated community gathering space? Not a bad idea.




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