Letter: Stockbridge is a place, not a brand
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
On August 8, The Eagle published a letter from Malcolm Chester, a Stockbridge resident, who likened the town to a well-"branded" community and by extension a good place for Amstar to locate at the Elm Court site a 112-room hotel and 15,000-square foot spa. My experience differs.
Stockbridge is not a brand, but a vibrant community where its residents seek to protect the community’s livability and sense of place. When I think about Stockbridge, I’m reminded of Helen C. Butler who in 1899 protected Monument Mountain "with the wish ... that it might be preserved forever for the enjoyment of the public," then Mary Flynn, who collected all the dollars and children’s pennies to purchase Gould Meadows. More recently, Judy Spencer who knew that the way to protect the rare plants that grow within Kampoosa Bog was to form a committee.
The town is now faced with a proposal by Amstar that is grossly oversized. I believe that the Select Board should insist that Amstar reduce the footprint of its development to a more humane scale similar to Blantyre, Wheatleigh, Oronoque or Windenhill.
I remember Norman Rockwell as a cyclist. He knew the town was losing its bikeways and scenic byways to the onslaught of traffic. In 1974 the Legislature enacted the Scenic Roads Act, at the petition of Sen. Jack Fitzpatrick. Regretfully, the Act does little to protect Old Stockbridge Road from the traffic that will accompany this resort. Stockbridge is not an investment opportunity; it is a place with real people, and a past and a future if we seek to protect that which should be protected.
A former resident of Stockbridge, the writer was founding director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, and an organizer of the Stockbridge Land Trust.
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