Don’t destroy the look and feel of Hedge Street
As I read the article in the 8/22 Fairhaven Neighborhood News which reported on the Selectboard Meeting of 8/1,9 my interest was piqued when I read about the complaints registered by residents of Hedge Street, because they are reminiscent of mine from when a Community Development Block Grant destroyed my little corner of the world.
I live on Francis Street at the corner of Plymouth Avenue. During the so-called CDBG “improvements” to my once quaint, country street several tall shade shade trees were removed. Most of those trees were replaced with ugly ornamental trees and also four “”sticks” that were supposed to be red maple trees. The maples are now dead or on death’s door.
Our cobblestone curbs were removed and replaced with concrete curbs, even though I had been assured at a face-to-face meeting at the office of Mr. Roth, the previous Director of Planning and Economic Development, that we would get granite. At the time I considered it a compromise, a mistake I’ll never make again.
We now have harsh white lines and bright yellow corners at what I call “crosswalks to nowhere” because they are simply not necessary in our tiny neighborhoods. When I objected to the look of the corners Mr. Roth’s response was “you’re lucky I didn’t put stop signs at every corner.”
As if destroying several blocks of Francis Street on the east side of my’property wasn’t enough, attention then turned to Plymouth Avenue along the south side of my property. Because I could not tolerate the look of Francis Street I rallied my neighbors to prevent further “improvements” which would have led to the removal of seven shade trees on the two blocks of Plymouth Avenue, as well as the addition of more concrete curbs and jarring “crosswalks to nowhere.”
My neighbors and I attended a hearing regarding the impending CDBG project and brought a petition signed by those who could not attend to voice our opposition to the project. Collectively, we prevailed!
A couple of years ago I stood with the neighbors on Green Street who were threatened by the same destruction to be done with another CDBG and fortunately they were able to spare the trees and the feel of their neighborhood. Can you imagine Ginko Bilobas lining the east side of Unitarian Church? I can and it’s not a pretty image!
Mr. Carter of GCG Associates encouraged our new Director of Planning and Economic Development, Paul Foley, to meet with neighbors again to discuss the ongoing plans for Hedge Street. As a tax paying citizen I would like to attend that meeting. If any of the neighbors care to call/text/ email with the location, time and date (my contact info is at the bottom) I will be there.
There is a way to make necessary improvements to our neighborhoods without destroying the feel, but residents must be told openly and honestly what the plan is in order to protect their corner of the world.
Don’t compromise or accept anyone’s word as gospel when it comes to preventing your neighborhood from looking like mine. I learned the hard way that, as my beloved grandfather used to tell me, “DeeDee, yah cain’t trust the bastahds.”
Diane Hahn, Fairhaven, 508-525-0936; firstname.lastname@example.org
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