January 13, 2005

New McAuliffe Branch Project: Not Dead Yet?

Apparently, it's possible to go ahead with the land purchase approved by Town Meeting last night, and then try again to see if Town Meeting members will support building construction, either at a new special TM or at a special within the regular spring Town Meeting. Gosh I hope so. After four long years of study, debate, grant application, and winning a rare state grant for a branch library, it would be heartbreaking to see this opportunity lost for at least the rest of the decade, and probably much more.

So many taxpaying citizens want their tax dollars to support this.

There's an important question about what we want Framingham to be. A downtown and a commercial strip along Rte. 9, where nothing else matters? Or a closely-knit collection of healthy, vibrant neighborhoods, with downtown at the heart?

Except for schools, there has been almost no town investment in facilities north of Rte. 9. And while I'm all in favor of neighborhood schools, the majority of town households have no school-age kids in public schools, so they don't add to day-to-day quality of life for the rest of us.

The ice skating arena (Loring), the main ballfield (Bowditch), the main library (program room for lectures, concerts, etc.), town adult education classes (Keefe Tech), public swimming facilities -- all are 01702. I don't begrudge downtown these facilities, but we pay taxes too. Don't non-school-age residents of other neighborhoods deserve any convenient access to public buildings for activities?

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