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One person’s ‘boring’ is another person’s description of heaven


Aug. 6, 2014

G. Michael Dobbs
news@thereminder.com

Is your community exciting or is it dull? That’s the question answered by a survey by Movoto, an online real estate broker based in California, which revealed the 10 supposedly most boring places in Massachusetts.

Chicopee and Agawam are on the list.

According to the real estate company’s website, “We started by going to the U.S. Census (2010) and listing the 50 most populous places in the state. Then, we used the Census and business listings to find information about each place in the following categories: nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.); live music venues per capita; active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.); arts and entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.); fast food restaurants per capita (the more the more boring); percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the lower the more boring); percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the lower the more boring); and population density (the lower the better).”

Springfield and Holyoke are both more exiting, by the way. West Springfield is just a nudge more exciting that Springfield and Holyoke. Boston is the third most exciting with Somerville ranked as the most exciting community in the Commonwealth.

Really? Should I be planning a trip to Somerville any time soon? Apparently they have theaters, a place called Davis Square, the Lego Discovery Center and the Mystic River Reservation and a bowling center, according to Tripadvisor.com. No offense, but none of that compels me to get in the car to experience Somerville.

Doesn’t Movoto realize that one person’s “boring” is another person’s description of heaven? There are folks who are happy to dine at national chains, live in quiet neighborhoods with few young people and don’t care very much about painting the town red or any other color.

Heck, handled the right way, this designation may boost real estate sales.

Listen to the residents
The other day I opened my email and noticed a question posted by the secretary of our neighborhood council. She wanted to know how people thought about a religious tent revival taking up residency the neighborhood for the better part of the month with the daily services lasting until nearly 9 p.m.

It seems the city of the Springfield wanted to take into consideration how the neighbors felt about this event before a special permit was granted.

I couldn’t help but notice as the emails from residents bounced back and forth the tent went up on a lot owned by a different church on Florence Street.

The residents who commented were overwhelmingly not in favor of the tent revival due to the noise of amplified preaching into the night.

The services started the other evening – I’m not sure how much impact the emails had  – and I drove by to see how loud it was. I was happy to note the sound wasn’t as great as I feared it would be, but when I arrived home I realized I could still hear it.

The city of Springfield has undertaken efforts to clear up inner city neighborhoods of late with daylong sweeps through parts of the North End and Old Hill by the police’s Ordinance Unit. In the North End the officers issued 103 tickets for violations of ordinances from everything from overgrown yards to unregistered cars.

The idea is to target properties with owners who have ignored problems that have affected the neighbors. It’s a great idea. 

With all of the emphasis paid to downtown it’s refreshing to see some focus being paid to these neighborhoods. Apparently my neighborhood and the South End will be next.

At the same time, though, the city needs to listen closely to neighbors who say, for instance, they don’t want a tent revival in the yard next to them. Frankly, I can’t understand why this would even be an effective means of reaching out to people in 21st Century urban America. Tents revivals were a staple of rural areas and small town in the 19th and 20th centuries. Traveling ministers, often faith healers, would come to town with a curiosity appeal that rivaled the circus.

Perhaps all of this will start a trend in the city: consult the residents who often feel ignored and let people know city ordinances will be enforced.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.

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