Get the Greenway Going!

Friends, I had the opportunity to attend a Town Meeting last night. This is my letter to the editor about the topic. If you don’t live in Stoneham, feel free to ignore. If you do live here, please – in addition to reading my note – contact your Selectmen to let them know you expect their enthusiastic support of the bikeway!

Fellow Residents of Stoneham,

I’m a mother to two young boys: six and nine. In just a few years, my oldest son will get to go to the great new Middle School we’ve built. In order to get there, though, he’s going to have to cross Montvale and Main Streets. Right now those crossings make me nervous. When the Bikeway becomes a reality, my kids – along with many of others in town – will have a much safer way to walk or bike to school. The bikeway will give us a safe place to teach our kids to ride, connect our community and bring biking enthusiasts to spend time and money in Stoneham!

Recently I attended a session on the future of Main Street. One of the points that was made was that Stoneham needs to attract young families to stay vibrant. Our population is aging. To support them at the level they deserve, we need to promote growth and vibrancy in this town. Our Main Street lacks the foot traffic it needs to attract new companies like Starbucks, and to support local businesses like Angelo’s or Cleveland Fence. In an amazing coincidence, Stoneham has a nearly finished plan for a Greenway (multi-use trail and park) with $5.5 million dollars of outside funding to make more foot traffic happen. Construction could begin as early as next year. By the time my 3rd grader is headed to Middle School, he could take the Greenway!

At the Town Meeting last night, there was a lot of impassioned discussion, and the Board of Selectmen was not authorized to begin negotiations on the temporary construction space needed build the Greenway. (Funny note: John DePinto and Robert Sweeney both voted against giving themselves the authority to help move the Greenway forward!) I worry that MassDOT, who’s giving us the $5.5 million, may think Stoneham doesn’t want or support the investment in public space and resources. They might pass us over in favor of another town that speaks with a more unanimous voice about wanting that investment. The no voters on article 10 last night said they needed more time and more clarity, but we don’t have an infinite amount of time to make this happen before we might need to look at funding this ourselves. Delaying the support of this project could risk our funding.

Not a single person at the meeting last night said they DON’T want the Greenway for Stoneham, but I’m afraid that might be the unintended outcome of delay. So I’m asking all of you: local businesses, Selectmen, football parents, voters, leaders and visionaries in Stoneham. Ask your questions. Get your answers. Find your clarity. Do it fast, and once you understand, throw your whole-hearted, active and vocal support behind this phenomenal opportunity to make Stoneham an amazing place to live.

Brenda Flynn

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12 thoughts on “Get the Greenway Going!

  1. I had to miss last evening….. but I ‘never’ thought this was going to be any sort of problem…!! All these years… All these heartaches of some pretty great people to make this dream happen. And still I have ‘NO’ idea of what ‘anyone’ is ‘Squaking about’ as far as little ‘Cheerleaders’ and ‘Youth Sports’ Are even talking about !!..That park we played on as kids in the 50’s and 60’s. Now ‘Really’.. does losing ‘Three Walking Steps inside that Fence going to be a ‘Huge’ Difference in ‘Cheerleading’ ??? Is it ??? What the heck is the damn problem here . How can ‘anyone’ Dare halt this project ? NO ONE is going to ‘lose’ any business land. I would really ( and will ) want to find out what these ‘inconviences ‘ are to these ‘few business’ people who : Received a very inexpensive TEN years lease on TOWN LAND…They ‘knew’ they were supposed to be OFF in ten years and stayed at ‘Thugs’ when not one Town Counsel or Town Administrator even tried to get them off !! So they………’Stayed’ ! No Insurance indemnifying the Town and NO Rent Money !! Or ‘offering any’ ! Then they got another Five years and ‘STILL’ we had to almost BEG them off…..~ ! And somehow we are ‘Still’ having to Deal with them ~ !
    If these little ‘Easements’ ( and temporary) are ‘not’ on their ‘land’.. I say they were ON OURS !! FOR at least TEN years with no offer for property taxes.
    And for the ‘First’ Ten years, I find it ……ODD… THAT in a Phone Call to Mr. Bill Sequino I made to his home about the SIX OR SEVEN ‘Leases’ he ‘allegedly’ ‘Signed’….He ‘Somehow’ only ‘Remembers..;About……………’TWO’….!!
    I have a suggestion: Because I’m ……….’Nice’… Let’s give NO More ‘Resistance’ to this Bikeway and let’s go on with a ‘nice’ peaceful town….Kapeesh’……….’ Frank’ Pignone

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One lady on my way out summed it up beautifully, “How many times do I have to vote yes to make this happen? I’ve been voting yes for 35 years!” I’m clinging to the fact that no one claims to be in opposition to the Bikeway. Everyone says they’re in favor. So let’s clear up their last reservations and get the shovels digging! Or… explain what your real, legitimate concerns are so we can figure out how to address them.

      Thanks so much!

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  2. Dear Brenda: I am a member of the Finance & Advisory Board and wanted to shake your hand at the end of Town Meeting last night, but you were gone before the meeting ended for a continuation on Thursday. You spoke so eloquently and passionately and we need more residents like yourself to step up to the plate and let us shape Stoneham into a town that we can all be proud of. I have lived here for 30 years and raised two children here – both graduated from Stoneham High and are now college educated adults with their own families. My son was in attendance last night and he told me that he spoke to you and shook your hand for a job well done. I am so happy that you chose to live in Stoneham and raise your family here and I assure you that as long as I am actively involved in town government, I will do all that I can to contribute to a better place to live like it was when I was raising my children in Stoneham. Thank you again for making your voice heard. Patty Walsh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Patty,

      Thank you for your service to our town! I know that no one takes a job in public service because they want things to stay mediocre – you’re all out to help and make it better. I really appreciate that.

      I’m pretty sure that if more of the people who care about Stoneham had found out about last night’s meeting in time, and understood that a delay may mean we lose our funding, the vote might have gone differently. I’m counting on the Football parents and selectmen living up to their commitments to learn, understand and work together to make it happen. Who wants to be the person who stopped the town from improving? No one, I hope. I’m looking forward to a lot of people living up to their promises to get those concerns addressed and the project moving forward.

      Meanwhile, the silent majority of Stoneham residents needs to make sure everyone understands that we care (and we vote!)

      Brenda

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  3. Thank you so much, Brenda, for your wonderful words last night. It’s so nice to see “new people” get involved. I, for one, am getting tired of working on projects just to see them fail because of false information fed to towns people. We need them to LISTEN to the facts and not just vote on articles because their friends and neighbors are. Keep the momentum going!

    Lauren Murphy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People have been working to make the Greenway a reality for as long as I’ve been alive. I’d love to see my kids get to use it, instead of having to keep fighting for it for another 30 years! I’m so grateful to all the folks who have put in the long hours, the great hope, and the patience over decades. The people who are working on the Greenway just want something nice for our town and our kids, and they deserve our support and gratitude!

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  4. Brenda, Unfortunately, I was out of town for the meeting and didn’t have the opportunity to hear your message. Will catch it “on demand” as soon as the meeting is aired. As a 50 year actively involved resident of Stoneham, I was appalled, disappointed, saddened and angered at the results of the vote on Article 10. How anyone, including our Selectmen, could vote against a project that tends to benefit the entire town is beyond my comprehension. I plan to do all in my power to promote understanding and support of a project that will benefit the entire Town of Stoneham.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll admit I’m still a bit fuzzy on why a Selectman would vote to NOT have the right to negotiate. I asked them, but I didn’t understand the answer. I’d love to hear the leaders weigh in publicly on why they did that! I’m sure they must’ve had a good reason, and that they’ll prove their commitment to improving this town by making sure that this in no way stop the Greenway from moving forward!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I find it ‘odd’ that these ‘easements’ came up ‘all of a sudden’ and we’d best ‘only pray’ that these ‘concerns’ were not ‘created’ ‘beyond a barrier’ of logic by administrative people in the State via a ‘Blocking Method’. If they can get ‘Environmental’ Approval of that Boston Regional Site with an estmated 8000 more autos and trucks a day; or over a mile and a half of exhaust on two lanes coming and going using two small ‘notches’ in and out of the roads up there without considering Wildlife, accidents and visibility problems on Icy and Snowy days plus what just ‘one flat tire, or accident will do to our community and pray that an ambulance is not needed on that property during those times.
    Our Town right now cries out for ‘Courage’, Displays of Truth, and ‘Calling out’ people who have been ‘serving in the dark’ using a feigned smile and handshake in the name of ‘Profit’…..and ‘Opportunities’ in devious and private ways…..and I fear this ‘may have happened with these ‘sudden easements’ . Elections for Selectmen and Women are coming and as soon as ‘any ‘ papers go to the Town Clerk, ‘all names’ who these candidates have been known to ‘associate with’ as Attorneys, Business Partners, or Chamber of Commerce ‘Buddies’.. will be assured……..’ Vetted’…….We of ‘age’…will help you. We have ‘friends’ also. God Bless you in this work… You are not ‘Alone’….

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