Churches Key To First Night
We should all be thankful for the support given to First Night Chatham by the churches in Chatham that provide venues for the events. Roughly half of the locations this year were town-owned properties with the balance being offered by our community organizations that provide venues for a very high level of artistic and entertaining performances which were enjoyed by all of us from Chatham and surrounding communities. The churches of Chatham are part of the character of our town starting with the line of church buildings as one enters town on Main Street. I was fortunate to attend a few performances in warm, well lit, and comfortable surroundings. Cheers to the First Night volunteers and to the organizations providing venue space.
Feels Welcomed By Chatham
I have been riveted by the recent letter from Beverly Nelson and the responses from the community.
I moved to Chatham eight months ago. One of my priorities in moving to a new home was how welcoming Chatham would be to “outsiders.” I am so grateful for the friendliness and warmth I’ve received from virtually every person I’ve met.
I am one of those retirees mentioned in several letters. But more than that, I hope that I am a community member. I have loved Chatham since coming here as a child on summer vacations, and then for many years in visits to a home on Old Main Street owned by my parents, uncle and aunt. Coming to a home in Chatham has long been a dream for me. I’m blessed that my mother has joined me here after my father’s death last May.
I am the oldest of seven children. We all learned from my parents the value of hard work, sacrifice and the importance of doing for others. I am happy to join in praise of the Chatham Fire Department (who helped me with a smoke alarm question this summer) and Pat Vreeland (my mom and I “adopted” two children this Christmas in the Angel program). I’ve enjoyed meeting members of many local organizations and getting involved with the Monomoy Regional School District’s Lighthouse Leaders program, WE CAN and RSVP. My mother and I are Friends of the Eldredge Library, have sponsored a seat at the Orpheum Theater, and have donated to The Family Pantry. I can’t name all the local restaurants, hardware stores, yarn shops, markets and service providers with whom we’ve become regulars, and many more with whom we hope to become regulars.
Chatham – thank you for your welcome! I hope to make a life here and I hope to make a difference here.
Astonished By 'Witch Hunt'
As a proud and grateful resident of Chatham, I feel I must step forward and share my thoughts about the numerous weekly letters that have showered the editor concerning the issue of attracting and supporting young families. This issue has clearly pushed a wide range of emotional and financial buttons in many people. There is no doubt that this is an important problem that needs to be addressed. I was very glad to read the Chatham Economic Development Committee's (EDC) recent views on the problem and I believe they will collectively propose several creative and reasonable ways to assist young families and local businesses. However, I am truly astonished by the “witch hunt” that has occurred in recent weeks over one Chatham resident's opinion on this issue. I do not know Ms. Beverly Nelson, but I do believe in the First Amendment, in every person's right to free speech. She owns a home in Chatham, pays taxes to this town, and shared her opinion on the subject. The thing that bothers me the most is that the responses to her letter became a negative personal attack, as opposed to a rebuttal of the issue. To be told she should not show her face in this town again is beyond imaginable to me! This is a community that embraces differences, welcomes people from all over the world, and attracts many wealthy individuals who choose to build and maintain incredible homes here. This is a community that invests time, effort, and resources in the maintenance of safety, beautiful beaches, parks, shops and public facilities. This is a community that loves its children, seniors, sunsets, library, art, music, businesses, birds and flowers! Why in the world would someone (most especially a property owner) be chastised, guilt-tripped, and admonished with many published letters because she dared to express her views? What?
To Ms. Nelson: I do not know you, but I do respect the right to express an opinion. I respect that you own a home in one of the wealthiest towns in America. Most people can only dream of that. I'm sure you will never want to write anything to anyone again after all of this. But I do hope you will not judge the entire community based on individuals who chose to challenge your views with a personal attack. In my opinion, they should have stuck to the issue. You have every right to show your face here and to enjoy your home and town.
Oh, and there are many reasons why young families cannot or do not live year round in Chatham, or on Cape Cod. These reasons have nothing to do with affordability, jobs, or housing.
Dr. Connie Hebert
Creative Solution To Theater Problem
Last week’s editorial summarizing the closure of the Monomoy Theatre as “a cultural catastrophe for Chatham and the Cape” is right on. It will also be a loss for local businesses interested in promoting the town’s economy. There is an urgent need for a creative solution that will avert this loss.
The model could be the recent resolution of the sale of Boston’s Huntington Theatre property. The buyer/developer (QMG Huntington LLC) will be constructing a commercial development contiguous with the theater, a mix of studio and one-and two-bedroom units, with space for retail, a restaurant and parking. But as part of the development he gave the theater the deed to its property. A theater program note exclaims: “The deed to this historic theatre is ours! It is now our job to restore this beautiful theater to its former glory, not for the sake of architecture, but for the sake of art, for the sake of the people we serve in this community, for artists, and for audience members.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Chatham if the seller would stipulate a parallel requirement, a granting of the deed, for the Monomoy Theatre? Or if the buyer/developer were to gift this on his own? The theater would be an enrichment for whatever commercial/residential mix the buyer may want to construct.
As for the theater, it is probable that it has the financial capability to correct the health and safety problems the current owner is unwilling to undertake. As an owner it is also likely that, similar to the Huntington, the theater company would invest in still further physical improvements. From a buyer/developer’s view point a continuing and upgraded theater would be a major asset.