Standing up against state-sanctioned folly

To the editor:

Alan Chartock's lament at the urbanization of downtown Great Barrington, (I Publius, Oct. 31) reminds me of events in Pittsfield a few years back.

Driving up Route 7 past Pontoosuc Lake, I was shocked to see the concrete wall erected by the state which utterly destroyed one of Berkshire County's finest vistas across the lake to the Taconic Range. There was an uproar of discontent from the public over this, but state officials insisted that this design was necessary and nothing could be done about it.

The citizens of Pittsfield refused to accept this answer, and after their considerable protest, the state cut down the abhorrent concrete wall and replaced it with the more esthetically pleasing green guard rails. Their persistence paid off and restored a bit of our county's country heritage. Perhaps such a protest and persistence can yield similar results in Great Barrington.

I'd like for Alan to also consider giving a little slack to the citizens who voted down the enormous renovation project of Monument Mt. High School, which had a similar deal offered to us by the state — if you want our money, then this project is what you have to accept. By turning down their offer we refused another state-sanctioned monstrosity. The school renovations are necessary, but we shouldn't be held hostage to choices mandated by the state.


Tom Norton Housatonic