Storrs/Senior Center support
So you think that Storrs Library and the Senior Center have dodged the bullet, are safe, and will remain essential resources for the people of Longmeadow for the foreseeable future. Think again. Two of the present Select Persons, who are former members of the School Committee, and are not required to stand for re-election this year, are hoping to be joined on the Select Board by a School Committee alumna and a recent high school graduate who is a fellow traveler. After the election on June 8, even if only one of these candidates is successful, the School Committee will control the Select Board.
Storrs Library will then be defunded in the budget beginning in July 2011. It will be closed and all books will be disposed of, thereby rendering mute any effort toward reconsideration. The Storrs Library building, which is owned by the town, will then be converted to serve as the Town Hall for Longmeadow.
In addition, the Senior Center will be relocated from its present site in the Greenwood School building to the Longmeadow Community House, thereby crippling their program. I am unaware of any plan that would solve the lack of parking and/or the absence of handicap access and the total lack of serviceability for seniors at the Community House. Subsequently, the Greenwood School building will be demolished and the property sold for private redevelopment leaving all of remaining users homeless.
The motivation for these shenanigans is, of course, the realization, come hell or high water, of the School Committee wish list plan for a new high school. If voters approve the project at the May 25 Town Meeting but then reject the $50 million debt exclusion on June 8, the proponents will immediately file a petition for reconsideration. The newly elected (School Committee controlled) Select Board will then support as many reconsideration votes as necessary to move the ill-conceived high school project forward. They are convinced that, if the Select Board election goes their way, eventually, the Scheme 2B yellow elephant will be approved by voters. After that, with the Library/Senior Center question disposed of, the way will be clear for the School Committee's next hundred million dollar wish list project, the Glenbrook and Williams middle schools.
The School Committee and its supporters have very big plans for Longmeadow which will add hundreds of dollars to your tax payments while gutting services and shifting their costs to your out of pocket expenses. Fortunately, they cannot carry out their plans without your help. They must have your vote. Ultimately, the choice will be yours.
You can choose to be present at the Annual Town Meeting on May 11. Speak out and vote for the balanced budget as written, to preserve services, and meet obligations that are essential and fiscally responsible. And you can choose not to be hoodwinked by School Committee backed efforts to amend the budget at this meeting with promises to rebalance the budget at another Town Meeting some time in the fall.
You can choose to be present at the Special Town Meeting on May 25. Speak out, vote, and defeat the ill-conceived plans of the misguided School Committee because demolition of the high school is the wrong project for you and for Longmeadow.
And, if the School Committee prevails at the Special Town Meeting on May 25, you can still choose to vote down their $50 million debt exclusion on June 8. At the same time, you can vote for two better candidates for Select Board and put Longmeadow safely back in good hands.
Philip B. Fregeau