LTE: Let’s Not Spend Money for a Want, Not an Absolute Need

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I watched the Financial Forum regarding purchasing the five lots of land by Meadow Brook. I am watched our FinCom struggle with funding the five lots purchase and understanding the need. Spending money on this land fresh off an override is really concerning.

TM needs to remember that Reading 

  • wants new senior center, 
  • wants tax funded full day kindergarten
  • needs a rebuild of Killam (which means a new debt exclusion most likely coming after the library, high school, and wood end come off) 
  • water bills are up some ridiculous percentage. 

I am having a hard time understanding the SB chairs comments about green space being at a premium as town forest itself is 290 acres.

I also would like to see a report of incidents or accidents on Grove Street for pedestrians going into the town forest. How many people access the town forest? Where do they access it? Wood end or Grove Street? How many people a day? We are looking at making a huge purchase without a lot of due diligence done. Could we go back to using Strout Ave? Why did we stop using that? Strout Ave is a free option to solve the parking and safety issue. Have we fully evaluated existing space to solve the parking issues? We also have never talked about the parking issues until the land came up for sale. 

Our select board chair also made the comment that if Meadow Brook ever was going to sell, we would lose green space and this is a chance to save some. I don’t agree with that comment and would like people to approach this purchase as a penny-wise pound foolish. Again, we just had an override. Let’s not spend money for a want, not an absolute need. I would like specific reasons why we need this land. I have not heard the reasons for the WHY we need this land. We also cannot use ARPA funding for this so now we are looking at finding the funding. If we have to find “creative” ways to fund this, this does not appear to be fiscally responsible to do.

Thank you for your consideration.

Alicia Williams
Reading Resident

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