Opinion: Voting against town office plan would back community

In light of the May 13 re-vote of Article 6, now Article 1, I encourage Middlebury residents to vote “no.”
I cannot see why we would want to move forward with a building project that has fractured our community. The buildings, if built as currently proposed will be long-standing monuments to our inability to come together in civil discourse to creatively discuss the future of our community. Let’s make these buildings and the process that creates them something positive that our community can be proud of for generations to come.
A vote “no” for Article 1 is a vote “yes” for Middlebury, our community, for many reasons.
No is yes for…
•  A thorough, thoughtful, creative planning process.
•  The town and college to come together and strategically and honestly to discuss needs, values, and stakes in our town.
•  Making wise, mutually beneficial decisions for both the town and college with respect to our remarkable downtown properties: municipal site and Economic Development Initiative site especially.
•  Teens and seniors to have a say in developing plans that meet their current needs and support healthy, long-term programming.
•  The Ilsley Public Library to consider its expansion needs before adjacent properties are developed.
•  The Recreation Program to develop the promised, long-term master plan to serve its programs long-term.
•  Planning a municipal office space that is easily accessible, expanded and adaptable to changing needs of our community.
•  Taking the time to evaluate the value of existing municipal buildings and their potential for future use.
•  Planning for an uncertain energy future, commit to using non-fossil fuels.
•  Setting overall goals for municipal energy consumption.
•  Committing to and planning for development that uses local people — taxpayers — for planning, design and construction. Keeping much-needed dollars in our community and to boost community pride.
•  Carefully spending our tax dollars both upfront and in the future.
I understand that many people in our community may be simply tired of this conversation. I am tired too, but I am not willing to give up on this great community. Let’s create the space and time needed to work with our friends and neighbors and Middlebury College to understand their ideas and needs for the future of our downtown. Voting “no,” will accomplish this and allow for a positive process moving forward.
Andrea Murray

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