Tribute To Dancers And Pets
I wanted to express my deepest gratitude to my beloved town of Chatham. After a year in the making creating a fundraiser at the Orpheum to benefit Monomoy Community Services, A Chance To Dance, and the MSPCA, I was able to raise $40,000. This was a result of the generosity of Chatham businesses and many residents of Chatham. I am particularly grateful to Rockland Trust for making “Pirouettes, Pliés and Pets” possible! And, to Geoff Bassett who created a phenomenal documentary for this project. And, Rob Stello of Stello Construction for building a complicated stage strictly for the event, I am so thankful. In addition thank you to The Squire for so generously donating hors d'oeuvres and Prosecco.
To Theresa Richards, Adam Spencer, Jackie Underwood, and Anne D. LeClaire: I couldn't have done it without you! I am so appreciative to the dancers and their pets. Thank you for bringing my dream to fruition!
Time To Play Ball
There's a baseball field owned by the town of Chatham that was not considered in the latest round of potential senior center locations since school properties were excluded from consideration for some reason.
This baseball field is located on Stepping Stones Road across the street from the recent extension of the town cemetery. It is next to outdoor pickleball, basketball and tennis courts, a soccer field and directly on the bike trail. (Yes, many seniors in town live active lives.) There's parking, too.
The field is overgrown and nearing the end of its useful life, in my opinion.
The location is part of a 31-acre parcel (12G-0-11-0) that includes the middle school on Crowell Road.
It is close enough to the middle school to encourage intergenerational activities of all kinds. And, I could envision a town-owned swimming pool nearby.
Please let the seniors play ball on this field.
Meeting House Minister Moves On
On April 17, the Chronicle was kind enough to run an article on my retirement as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House here in Chatham. I am updating that story to report that my retirement will take effect as planned on New Years Day, 2020. My active service will be followed by a four-month sabbatical, during which I hope to finish a book I have been working on for years on a Universalist approach to the problem of evil.
The Meeting House has hired the Rev. Tracy Johnson, who is employed in the We Can women’s empowerment program in Harwich, as sabbatical minister for those four months. She will conduct one service a month, be responsible for pastoral concerns and hold office hours once a week. The other Sundays will be handled by a group of ministers in rotation.
Looking beyond the sabbatical period, I will be looking for another settled or interim ministry, probably in the Boston area, and the Meeting House will be looking for a permanent half-time minister. To remind your readers, this whole series of changes was brought about because the Meeting House membership, like so many small congregations, can no longer financially support a full-time ministry.
My parting has been both sad and sweet, and I will always look back on my 11 years in Chatham with great affection. The congregation has outdone themselves to shower me with love and good wishes. As the psalmist said, my cup runneth over. I want to thank your paper and all those in the larger community who have supported me and the Meeting House in our endeavors to bring light and love and music and merriment and warmth to Cape Cod’s “elbow.” It has been a wonderful time.
Rev. Edmund Robinson, Minister
Chatham Unitarian Universalist Meeting House
COA Too Good To Pass Up
To The Voters of Chatham,
This is the last chance to make a plea for a yes vote on Jan. 4 at the special town meeting at 1 p.m. There is so much misunderstanding and false information about these articles among the town’s constituency that I would like to make a couple of things clear.
Article 4, to allow the town to put an offer on the 1610 Main St. property at $750,000.
No money (free-cash) is being exchanged;
The seller’s offer of $750,000 is for the sole purpose of building a new senior center; if the vote
doesn’t pass the seller will take this low bid off the table and sell it at a better profit. The current assessed value, just published, is $775,000, above the seller’s asking price;
There are FAQ sheets explaining the procedure/consequences of these votes which are on the town web site and may be found in town offices; please read them;
A yes vote is not binding for the expense and will only be final after a two-thirds vote at the May town meeting.
Article 5, to allow the town to spend $130,000 on a site-specific feasibility/design study: No final plan can be drawn up without a specific site. We cannot vote for article 5 without article 4 to prevent the seller from taking another better offer and our $130,000 definitely would be wasted.
We have spent money on this project and seen general plans for many sites in town already—those sites have all been turned down! This property is our last chance to really look at all aspects of the design, building, and inherent problems to the site, as there would be with any site. We need the $130,000 to get these plans and address all the concerns by the naysayers with definite functional solutions.
I plead with the opposition to give a yes vote to both articles to at least move it to the May meeting or this plan for our seniors is dead. What is there to lose when we have exhausted all other sites?
Don't Let COA Opportunity Pass By
In recent letters from members of CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything), they oppose the $750,000 purchase of the old Sibley property at 1610 Main St. in West Chatham (STM article 4). They also oppose the expenditure of $130,000 for a project feasibility study, conceptual design and cost estimate for a COA facility at that location (STM article 5). The board of selectmen approved both articles.
Although the finance committee did not approve the land purchase, it did approve the expenditure for the feasibility study, presumably with the view that if the study demonstrates feasibility, the land would still be available for purchase. Otherwise, why do the feasibility study at all?
The wrangling over the site for a new COA facility may go on for several more years, especially if the CAVE folks continue their ways, but the opportunity to purchase property in West Chatham may be lost forever during that time. Whenever desirable land is made available to the town at a reasonable—yes, reasonable—price ($29.6/square foot vs. $62.5/square foot for the Eldredge Garage property), it is shortsighted to pass up that opportunity.
Who knows, if the study determines the land is not feasible for a COA facility, it might be developed for affordable housing, an additional retail area, a village green or any number of other worthwhile town projects for West Chatham.
Don’t waste the opportunity.
Chatham and Venice, Fla.
1610 Main St. Worst Possible Site
Some COA advocates are attempting to win votes to approve William Marsh’s Eastward Company’s 1610/0 Main St. parcels as the COA’s site by saying they will have nowhere to go if it is turned down. But that is not so. They will have their current location until a more suitable site is worked out. An obviously manipulated postcard, recently distributed by the Friends of the COA, stated “Our seniors deserve better.” That part was true: seniors deserve much better than 1610. Safety and topographical issues make it suboptimal. If we want a new council on aging, then, as a previous letter writer stated, “Don’t settle” for this site. Clearly the purchase is being advanced for the current owner, who created this vacant lot through questionable actions. Taxpayers are being asked to provide him a 72 percent profit over his original purchase price three years ago.
Many questions have gone unanswered by town officials or the answers have been inconsistent. For example, early on in the process we were told it was not legal for us to expend funds without a land acquisition offer to purchase, but now we are learning it is not “prudent” to do so. There is a big difference. We know that the selectmen explored many options, but we also know that this one is the worst possible choice. It creates serious risk to natural resources, safety issues for senior drivers, and substantially fewer parking spaces than previously called for. Also spending $750,000 for private property is not fiscally responsible when town property is available.
Gloria M. Freeman
Librarian Worth Weight In Gold
I am grateful that I have a son who likes to read, and this started with Ann Carpenter, the youth services librarian at the Brooks Free Library in Harwich.
When my son was three, I started bringing him to Story Time every Tuesday, where Ann would read stories and play games with genuine enthusiasm. When looking for a book to check out for him, she would have great recommendations, and my son would always be riveted with her choices.
My son is almost 13 now, and I can still count on Ann for her suggestions. Recently, I needed her advice for a specific genre of books that my son would be interested in. Not only did she lead me to what I was looking for, but she took the time to talk about what these books were about, how they were written, and what the characters were like. As always, my son loved what she selected!
She always mentions him by name too, which amazes me, considering all the children and families who have visited the library through the years. Ann is truly one in a million!