Letter to the Editor: Downtown project needs better communication

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On Monday, April 12, the strong fumes from the equipment idling and working in the parking lot at 3 Marshall Ave. triggered my wife’s asthma, which had not troubled her since the town allowed construction in that lot at the end of 2019. She ended up having to go to urgent care, where she was prescribed medication and given an outline for additional treatment since we have been told that this activity will continue for the duration of the Main Street Corridor Project.

The town’s decisions to not only renege on their 2019 promise to not use this lot as a staging area for this project, but to keep us out of the loop and uninformed as long as possible denied us the time to properly prepare for this situation. It beggars belief that such major decisions were unforeseen in a project that has been discussed “ad nauseam” (to quote Select Board member Brian Herr) over the past several years. Pushing through these decisions at the last minute with minimal discussion and consideration for the lives and well-being of the affected residents exposes a disturbing and disappointing lack of preparedness, if not ethics, on the part of the town.

In the town’s press release dated December 2, 2020, Mr. Khumalo stated:

“A.F. Amorello has reached out to the Town to inquire about possible town owned properties that could be used as construction lay down areas and is also in the process of requesting information from MassDOT to begin developing a Health and Safety Plan.”

Why were we not notified then of the town’s intentions? Why did the town wait until March 10, 2021, to notify us that this was even a possibility, and why did we have to wait until several days after the perfunctory Parks & Rec meeting on March 17, 2021, before we were told that this lot would be used? Why were we given such little time to prepare after being told that we wouldn’t have to?

Communication is the key to any successful project. We want this project to go smoothly and be the kind of success that we can all be proud of, and we want to see our town continue to thrive once the project is done. However, town leadership’s continued struggles with planning and/or basic communication has us very worried about what is coming over the next three years and beyond.

— David and Lucia Lopez, Hopkinton

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