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Letter to the Editor: There is Little Frontage for Public Recreation on Farmington River

October 17, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum 1 Comment

To the Editor:

Canton has a 7-mile stretch of the Farmington River between New Hartford and Burlington. The town owns about 1,600 feet of that frontage, most of it devoted to the town garage and the sewer plant. There is little frontage for public recreation. The fact that the town garage is currently on the river is not a compelling reason for keeping it there. The garage can be workable on any number of other sites. Farmington River frontage owned by the public as parkland would open it up for boat launching, public celebrations, picnicking. It could be a place where residents go simply to enjoy the view, to congratulate themselves for choosing a town with such a beautiful public amenity.I grew up in Western Michigan, not too far from Lake Michigan. We didn’t live on the lake, but we kids bicycled out to the state park on the lake all summer long, our families picnicked there, we watched the ferries and sailboats come and go. The park system made the Big Lake, as we called it, available to all of us. It was part of what was for us a good life. Public spaces (everywhere) in an ever-increasingly crowded planet become more and more important with every passing year.

Back in 1979 Canton missed out on the opportunity to buy a 20-acre parcel on the Farmington River, which sold for $200,000 to condominium developers. It seems a pity that once again, all these years later, our selectmen still don’t have the imagination, the vision or the will to see the Farmington as a place for all of us.

I urge Canton voters to vote against rebuilding a town garage at its current site on the Farmington River.

Gretchen Swibold


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