People opposed to the Lowry and Burbank properties being used for housing state that we need to keep open spaces free from development and be able to have farmland and I understand that. I also realize there is a dire need for housing that can not be overlooked. Many of the homes near the land we are talking about once sat on farm land. If you live on the west side of Stratton Road south of the Lowry property, or on the new section of Longview Terrace, or any development on the east side of Stratton Road south of Cobbleview Road, think of where your home was built, and built within recent history. A good chance it was farmland ? Absolutely.
Are you in any of the new homes built in the last few years on or just off Oblong Road? Was that farmland ? Absolutely. You all enjoy living there with all that the land offers you and your family. How many people came forward to stop you from building a home on what was farmland at one time? Very few apparently or your home wouldn’t be there. Why now, after so many years of most people not even checking to see where it stood in regards to conservation, is it so important to pass a vote to put Lowry and Burbank into conservation. Sadly we all know the answer to that.
Stop at the Photech Mill and old town garage sites when you are out and about some time. Would you like this to be the site of your next home, or housing for your elderly family members? These lands are contaminated and I am sure not many of you would feel safe planting a vegetable garden even after it has been cleaned up. At Photech the Hoosac River would be threatening your home in a flood situation. The Spruces residents can tell you about flooding and many of us do not want to go through it again.
I applaud Mr. Fohlen and everyone who realizes that Lowry is the best place to begin a new community. We bought our homes in the Spruces with the hope that we would be here for many years and through no fault of our own Irene came and made that impossible. Most of us who have remained here are the ones who did not receive large funds from FEMA. We used our own money to bring our places up to the codes that were required from storm damage. It has given us the chance to stay in our own homes for a few years and be able to have our pets with us plus a slight sense of peace.
Every day we live in limbo not knowing where we will be in a few years as we wait for our fate to be determined while the arguing over land continues on. Our community has gone through a disaster that has left many in a state of depression and despair. Everywhere I look I see an article about how we need to help the people at the Spruces but then along comes a statement from someone or a group about needing to discuss, vote and conserve the very land that would actually be our solution. Since when has land become more important than a human life?
It is not feasible to even think of rebuilding the Spruces as it stands, but to create our community of single dwelling homes on higher ground where we wouldn’t have to worry about the next flood makes sense to many of us. The Lowry property for Irene Cottages is absolutely the way to proceed with humanity, fairness and dignity.