Letters: Vote on April 24 & Make Your Voice Heard

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To the Editor:

We, as Williamstown residents, owe it to our neighbors to get out and voice our choices at the special town meeting that was petitioned by a few residents. There is more at stake than the 10 acres of identified "pristine land." Part of our community, a small community within a community, is also at stake.  

I resided in that community for 15 years until Tropical Storm Irene flooded my home, which resulted in nearly a total loss of my personal possessions, in addition to my home. Where my home once was is now just a cement slab.

The Spruces, even now, is a place where neighbors help neighbors; they have safe space and freedom to ride bikes; have their own flower gardens; walk their dogs and socialize. Because of the flood, I lost that community and because of the housing shortage, I was forced to live outside of Williamstown for over a year. I am grateful to say I was finally able to find housing in Williamstown.

Are we going to allow the additional sacrifices of the Spruces residents to go unnoticed by removing options for development from the table? Do we want to limit the type of housing by limiting the type of land options?

It is too soon to determine what is financially feasible without due diligence. For example: replicating a community, constructing condominiums with an affordable housing component, or multiunit housing?

We, as a town, need more time not only to determine the most beneficial use of the gift of the Spruces' 120 acres and replacement housing, but also the Mitigation Grant of $6.1 million.

I urge you to become informed, if you are not already, and vote April 24 at Mount Greylock Regional High School at 7 p.m. YOUR VOICE matters!

If only a few are able to represent the town, then options for affordable housing development may be lost forever. For more information and copies of the articles up for vote, please go to the town of Williamstown's website.

Phyllis Alcombright
April 16, 2013

Tags: affordable housing,   conserved land,   lowry property,   Spruces,   

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Mount Greylock Committee Hears Concerns About Turf Field Plan

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Rubber infill from the turf field at Weston Field adheres to a reporter's leg after a minute lying down on the surface to take a photo.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Committee last week declined to slow plans for installing an artificial turf field at the middle-high school but members noted that there is still time to weigh health and environmental concerns before shovels go into the ground.
The full School Committee earlier in the spring authorized the Phase 2 grounds subcommittee to put the turf field out to bid this summer.
Since that time, committee members have heard from a number of residents concerned about studies that have linked "infill" materials in used in turf fields to higher rates of cancer and environmental contamination due to runoff from those fields.
"Some of the chemicals found in crumb rubber are known to cause cancer," a fact sheet from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at University of Massachusetts at Lowell reads in part. "Because of the large number of chemicals present in the infill, as well as the health effects of individual chemicals, crumb rubber made from recycled tires is the option that likely presents the most concerns related to chemical exposures."
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