____________________________________Recent months have witnessed recurring discussions about what Longmeadow should do about three major concerns. Those concerns are: the condition of the two middle schools in town, the need for a decent Senior Center and the need for a safe and strategic home for the DPW department.
The Select Board seems singularly inept in dealing with this problem. Their solution seems to be: ignore the problems. This is neither just nor adequate.
A recent development has the seniors vocalizing on behalf of taking large chunks of land at Bliss Park for a Senior Center. A number of fellow citizens have objected.
I share their concern about the destruction of Bliss Park. I think we should leave it as it is, which is a wonderful family centered park in the middle of town.
What can we do to protect Bliss Park and at the same time address the other real town wide concerns?
The answer to that question is contingent on a holistic response that speaks to the concerns of the entire town and its community.
As I see it, the seniors do need a new center which is appropriate to their needs and appropriate to the best interests of the Town of Longmeadow.
We also need a new DPW location. (The recent proposal of the DPW committee speaks to this. I have not read the full proposal.)
We also need to seriously address the needs of the Middle Schools in Longmeadow, Williams and Glenbrook.
I support the following solution:
- DPW to be placed at Greenwood Park Center off of Maple Road. Minimum loss of playing fields and playground area.
This would be the site of headquarters, mechanical service areas, radio communication center, repair, etc. Garage storage areas and parking lots. Some vehicle storage and repair sites at Wolf Swamp Road near East Longmeadow line. No diminution of playing fields. Create an attractive site near Twin Hills and Field Club.
- Senior Center to be placed at Glenbrook Middle School. No diminution of playing fields. Close Glenbrook. Renovate Glenbroook for Senior Activity needs.
- Middle School situation to be remedied in the following manner.
Place new enlarged Williams Middle School on playing fields of Williams Middle School. Construct new and larger building. Tear down old building. And then create athletic fields.
With New Williams Middle School complete, we transfer student population of Glenbrook to Williams. Turn Glenbrook over to town for Senior Center.
What do you think? I think we will need to create a coalition to bring this three part project to pass. But that task is far superior to just doing nothing.
Let’s get this project rolling forward!
John J. Fitzgerald