To the Editor:
A Response To Selectman Bob Lessler’s Letter On South Park
1) The “bugaboo” with regard to South Park is that the property is somehow endangered by ownership by the Town of Easton. It is not. Simply stating something over and over again does not make it so. Not one supporter of the sale, including Mr. Lessler, has demonstrated any facts to support the claim that the property is in danger or won’t be preserved because Easton owns it. If that were true then Easton cannot be trusted with any open space. The facts are that for the fourteen years of town ownership, during which Mr. Lessler has served for the entire period, the Selectmen have failed to truly open the property up to the community that paid $6 million dollars for it and failed to ask for or provide any money to maintain the property beyond a yearly grass cutting. Now they want to split it up and for the town to take a huge financial hit while doing so. That is inexplicable.
2) Yes, the town is required to submit an Affordable Housing Plan. However, the town is not required to offer up town properties for potential development sites e.g. South Park and the old Samuel Staples School nor is the town required to build any. (It is also noteworthy that the town owns other parcels of land yet those were not included in the draft). So the committee’s draft is faulty but we’ll stick with it anyway?? The expert paid handsomely to assist with the report apparently did not grasp the fact that there is no development in town and no way financially for the town to develop either property. Furthermore, many of these same chorus members (who were also loud proponents of the multi-use pathway), are now are at one and the same time proclaiming loudly we cannot and do not have the funds to preserve and maintain South Park but are OK with the suggestion that within 5 yrs the town may have the funds to build affordable housing on town owned property, including however so remote the possibility, at South Park. That is not an honest assessment. That is inexplicable.
3) If you want to preserve the entire parcel for the future of Easton then don’t listen to the chorus. It is singing loudly, but not singing all the words and singing badly off key. Vote No May 3rd on the sale the South Park property. Insist that the full parcel be deed restricted and dedicated as open space and insist it (and Samuel Staples) be removed as a possible future site for affordable housing. Further insist that its preservation and use as open space be properly funded. Once the land is sold Easton loses all control over it- forever. Don’t let that happen.
David F. Antonez