To the editor: I am concerned about the planned road closure on Harris Street in West Stockbridge to accommodate outdoor concerts by the Foundry.
I want to make it clear that I am not against the Foundry for pursuing ways in which to maintain its viability, especially now as we emerge from a global pandemic. What I am against is their plan for accomplishing this in a way that seriously disenfranchises a long-standing business and its neighbor, Truc Orient Express, from pursuing its own viability under similar circumstances.
The big flag for me is that the Foundry knows what closing the street down means to Truc’s. They see the writing on the wall, just as clearly as Truc’s does. Without access to its core patrons during peak visitation hours, Truc Orient Express doesn't stand a chance to survive. If this were not the case, the Foundry would not be coordinating a food truck to be present for their concerts. I understand that the owners of the Foundry are working hard and have a lot of overhead to cover in order to maintain their viability. There is this counter argument that Truc's does not possess the same overhead.
Coming out of the global pandemic, this argument is ludicrous and irrelevant. Truc Nguyen and her family have been working hard and tirelessly for 40-plus years. They came here and built a life in the Berkshires. They are an important part of our community. Just like the Foundry, Truc is seeking ways to reinvent the business. For the last year, she has struggled to create a grassroots takeout campaign for people who were not permitted to eat in at her restaurant. She has gotten creative with her menu and her overall portfolio of goods. She did this all on her own through hard work and certainly not at the expense of her neighbors.
Going down this path, the Select Board is treading a line between right and wrong — a line that was drawn in the ground some 20 years ago when the town decided to close the primary public access to the street. Look harder. Dig deeper. Find a solution that is equitable and just for all involved. Don't leverage a technicality to remove yourself from doing the right thing. You have an opportunity to set a precedent for the better.
Rich Bradway, Stockbridge