Friday, August 18, 2000
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
This week residents will have the opportunity to step inside a most amazing new facility and fortunately, it belongs to every one of us. It's the renovated and expanded Gleason Public Library. This edifice and the opportunities that lie behind those beautiful granite doorways are the result of the willingness of donors and taxpayers to fund the project and extraordinary efforts on the part of volunteers and employees who have brought it to fruition.
As the story on page 1 indicates, the Gleason expansion began in 1992 with the completion of a study to determine the growth and needs of the town for the next 20 years. Throughout the past eight years, former trustee and library building committee chair Sally Swift continued to push the project past whatever stumbling blocks were in its path. She was the force behind the initial needs study, state grant (which had to be submitted, revised and resubmitted before it ultimately provided nearly one million dollars in funding), architectural designs, Town Meeting presentations and constant oversight of construction. The building committee was formed in 1994 and Swift was joined by architect Geoff Freeman, who is renowned for his library designs; Stewart Roberts, who also brought extensive architectural experience; Chip Sullivan, who has a broad range of public project construction expertise, Lyn DiBiase, who has served the library for years as trustee and building committee member; and Ed Sonn, who shared the expertise he garnered from the Town Hall and Saint Irene building projects.
The current staff, as well as former library director Peggy Hilton who was an instrumental force until she retired in 1998, contributed tremendously to the success of the project. Having shared quarters with the library at their temporary 872 Westford Street location, we at the Mosquito had a birds-eye view of the labor-intensive efforts of the staff during the construction project. They packed up library materials prior to renovations, were creative in their use of the temporary quarters and worked diligently to promptly restore order to the collection in the new facility. Ellen Rauch bravely stepped in as Carlisle's new library director in 1998 and, although she spent considerable time on construction plans, she remained focussed on servicing residents to the best of her abilities. Her job was made easier by longtime librarians Kay Edelberg, Jean Forman, Shirley Pearlman and Marty Seneta, who always remained cheerful, no matter how cramped or dusty they were.
The ultimate responsibility for the project rested with the Gleason Library Trustees and during the lifetime of the project included Kate Bauer Burke, Liz Thibeault, Teresa Kvietkauskas, Mary Cheever, Rosalie Johnson and Brooke Cragan. The group worked diligently to obtain state, local and private funding. They agreed that the renovation was a fitting use of the generous bequest from former librarian, teacher and author Ruth Wilkins Hollis, who died in 1994. Thoughout the project, the trustees pled their case multiple times before selectmen, finance committees and Town Meetings to obtain town funds. Lastly, the trustees called on residents who contributed funding for furnishings, computers and landscaping.
As you pass under the portals of our new library, even if everything is not exactly as you expected or would like, take a moment to reflect on those who have made extraordinary personal sacrifices over the last eight years to make this project a reality. Their efforts, in conjunction with the generosity of taxpayers and contributors, have conspired to create a beautiful new space where community members of all ages can gather and learn for many years to come.
Heads in the Sand
The selectmen from Acton, Bedford, Belmont, Concord, Lincoln, Lexington, Waltham, Wayland, Woburn, and several other communities signed on. State and federal representatives, including Congressmen Meehan, Markey, and Tierney, State Senator Fargo and Representative Kaufman, and many others, including local and East Boston citizen's groups signed on. The document was "Hanscom at the Crossroads," a call for a moratorium on commercial aviation at Hanscom Field. They came together at an August 2 rally, with the enthusiastic approval of the crowd gathered in the field between the Old Manse and the Old North Bridge. Each group had a different but compelling perspective. What are they concerned about?
There is a need for a multi-state, environmentally sound transportation plan that meets the region's real intermodal transportation needs. At the rally, Senator Fargo emphasized that there is no plan in development. She is clearly frustrated by the current administration's lack of leadership on this issue. Massachusetts cannot solve its transportation problems alone, and neither can individual communities. Increasing aviation operations at Hanscom or adding a new runway at Logan will not answer the transportation needs of the Northeast. Rep. Meehan considers it a true embarrassment that this country has not managed to develop a workable high-speed rail system. Individual communities must also begin serious work together to solve local traffic congestion problems.
The environmental impact of increased commercial aviation at Hanscom is not being addressed. Local citizens' groups, such as Save Our Heritage (www.saveourheritage.com) and Shhair (www.shhair.org), are calling attention to the serious impact of increased air, water, and noise pollution on the many historic and natural resources of the area, as well as on health and quality of life. These groups join the National Park Service, Communities Against Runway Expansion (CARE), a coalition of over 30 Greater Boston neighborhoods and towns, as well as groups around the country, in their environmental concerns about increased aviation. New York City officials have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation, contending that the government must conduct an environmental impact study before allowing airlines to add flights at LaGuardia Airport.
Massport takes action without due process. Rep. Kaufman coined the phrase "No aviation without representation!" Rep. Meehan was outraged by Shuttle America's decision to sell tickets for seats on a yet-to-be-approved Hanscom-LaGuardia route. Our state and federal representatives and the selectmen from towns all over eastern Massachusetts are concerned about Massport's actions. The towns surrounding Hanscom have attempted a joint planning effort to determine what kind of development is necessary or acceptable, but Massport refuses to accept such local input. In lieu of a true cost/benefit analysis, Massport merely charges that those against airport expansion are anti-business. According to a Wall Street Journal article, officials at airports in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, and Connecticut view Massport's actions as self-serving.
Carlisle is the only town completely enclosed within routes 495, 128, 2 and 3, an area already heavily traveled by commuters and undergoing extensive development. The noise in the sky is but a reminder of the very real potential for increased congestion and pollution, and the threat that an agency such as Massport will determine our future. Carlisle sits in the midst of all this action, seemingly unconcerned and uninvolved. Can we, individually or as a town, afford to keep our heads in the sand?
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito