The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 1, 2009


Your vote at Town Meeting is important!

Now it is your turn to take part in the democratic process. That will happen if you attend Carlisle’s Annual Town Meeting on Monday night, May 4, at 7 p.m. in the Corey Auditorium, and possibly Tuesday, May 5, if there still are Articles that we have not addressed by 11 p.m. on Monday night.

For the past many months, you have been reading here in the Mosquito about the goings-on at the Carlisle Board of Selectmen, the Finance Committee, the Planning Board, the School Building Committee, the Historical District Commission, the Conservation Commission and other town committees as they prepare for Town Meeting. These are the committees manned by Carlisle citizens who have given hour after hour of their time throughout the year, making decisions on the directions that the community should take in order to preserve Carlisle as the place where we want to live.

Why go to Town Meeting in 2009? This year, we have some very important issues to address. 1) Funding for the restoration and repair of the 114-year old Gleason Public Library. 2) The restoration or the demolition of the 101-year old Highland Building, our early twentieth century school house. 3) Replacing the crumbling Spalding School with a new school and making repairs on other Carlisle school buildings. 4) Providing funds for Concord-Carlisle High School repairs and renovations.

I believe these are the top issues for townspeople to address at Town Meeting. There is no question that the Gleason Public Library needs repairs before further damage is done from a leaking roof, causing water and mold damage to the façade, windows, and foundation. In a past editorial I have taken a stand on the Highland Building. As one of the few public buildings that embodies the history and character of our town, Highland should be preserved. Compare it to the Spalding School, which was built 50 years ago. Nobody should be questioning the teardown of Spalding. Hopefully the Town will transfer the care, custody and control of Highland from the School Committee to the Selectmen.

These are difficult economic times, but thanks to the town’s participation in the Community Preservation Act, $775,000 for repairing the Gleason Public Library and $445,000 for stabilizing the Highland Building can be appropriated without increasing property taxes. The alternative for Highland is demolition, for which the Town would have to raise $133,000. As for the Carlisle School Building project, if we act now, the Massachusetts School Building Association will pay 40% of the $20 million total cost. Instead of replacing the high school for $90 million as was recommended in 2005, CCHS is seeking funds of about $225,000 from Carlisle for maintenance, safety of the present building and to develop a masterplan for the future.

There are 3,532 voters in Carlisle. It is up to us to attend Town Meeting if we are to have input into how our community develops and how best the history and character of our town can be preserved.

Going, going, gone

It began innocently enough. A colleague suggested I investigate a condominium project slated for auction. On Thursday morning, she gave me the name.

From Google, I learned that the auction was to be on Saturday, with an open house continuing through Thursday and Friday. I decided to swing by the place on my way home that evening.

Karen and I had been sniffing around the market. With the boys out of the house and our jobs downtown, the notion of shaving half an hour off our commute, and downsizing, has been a persistent fantasy. But our preliminary reconnaissance was decidedly discouraging, suggesting we would need to pay significantly more for half the space, of lesser quality, and in far less desirable surroundings.

The open house displayed units of various shapes and sizes. But several of the units looked pretty good. I called Karen, who was away on business, to suggest that we attend the auction. If nothing else, the event promised to be a fascinating lens on the current economic climate.

So there we found ourselves on Saturday, along with two hundred fifty or so would-be bidders. On the way in, we discussed our strategy, a delicate conversation since Karen had not seen the units. We discounted our “walkaway price” for that reason, and for various other unknowns. We expected that the units would go for more than we were willing to pay, but were firm in our resolve to go no higher.

The auction began, with each sale lasting about two minutes and concluding with applause for the successful bidder. The units we liked were slated toward the middle of the auction, so we had a chance to watch before bidding. But as the auction progressed, we realized the prices were far lower than we had anticipated.

Eventually, the auctioneer reached the group of units that attracted us. The unit we liked best was to go third, and we waited nervously. But the prices for the first two units apparently were so low that the seller pulled “our” unit from the auction entirely. We spent an hour questioning whether we should have bought one of the others, and thinking we had lost the opportunity. But at the end of the auction, the seller offered our unit at roughly the price of the first similar unit, and we jumped at the chance.

So now we are moving.

How does one say goodbye to a house, and the memories it contains? Every angle, every shadow, every view from every window prompts an image of our sons or ourselves in earlier times.

How does one say goodbye to a community? Our initial struggles to bring the school bus down our little street are distant memories now, and we have become deeply embedded here. This is home.

Maybe it is best to leave quickly, without lingering or circumspection. We closed within two weeks of the auction, and have moved enough furniture to stay there during the week. With any luck our house will sell soon (to a most fortunate buyer). We are gone.



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© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito