Letter to the Editor: Main Street gets new vote it deserves

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To the Editor:

Little did we know back in 2010 that town officials already had a fait accompli in mind with their premature submission of the 25 percent plan in order to establish Hopkinton`s place in the state funding queue for the Downtown Improvement project. The current level of Select Board grumbling over the Main Street Alliance`s successful citizens petition for a Special Town Meeting on December 9 reflects their frustration that another side of this story is finally being heard.

The Select Board has accused our Main Street Alliance of “opening up a can of worms” by allegedly setting a precedent in recalling an article following the May 2018 Town Meeting vote. Since evidence has recently surfaced that the general public may have been under-informed at the time, I say bring on the worms. The Board also stated concern over how disruptive this process could be for them, apparently without concern for the extreme disruption the Downtown Corridor Project would unleash on all residents, business owners, and vehicles attempting to pass through town … for at least two years.

Previously stated goals by town officials to partner with local small businesses to keep them informed on a regular basis have failed miserably in many cases. I have spent all but two years of my life living and/or working on Main Street, yet until last month was never approached directly by any project-related official during its nearly 10-year gestation period.

Many of the Alliance members have spent decades and generations contributing to the community that has sustained their livelihoods. That`s what you do when you can. If this project was reasonable and would result in a decrease of traffic congestion as originally promised, history proves dedicated citizens and property owners like us would accept as a necessary inconvenience/sacrifice whatever ensued. Such is not the case, however, as state and federal mandates have altered the original concept beyond reason, resulting in unacceptable design changes and permanent property rights restrictions for many.

We object to a process that kept most of us in the dark, while members of the Select Board now accuse us of “taking our ball and going home” by sponsoring the upcoming December 9 Special Town Meeting vote. In fact, it`s the local power brokers who have held the ball for nearly 10 years. Concerned residents are finally getting their first opportunity to step up to the plate.  Our goal remains to inform Hopkinton`s citizens of what town officials have not deemed significant. If you thought you had no say in this project, here`s your chance to vote.

 

— Rob Phipps, Hopkinton business owner