I have seen and heard the numbers, and I’m convinced. There’s no sense in spending half a million more to build new town offices no bigger than the existing building.
But having moved to Castleton in 2008 from a New York City suburb, I’m concerned about more than just a lot of money. I’m talking about sprawl.
I have seen what happened in our previous town when first the library, then the police station and finally town hall were moved from the center to three different locations in an effort to be “fair” to different neighborhoods.
Very rapidly, the town center lost its soul. With nowhere to walk to, no one walked anymore. Attendance at town meetings plummeted as did use of the library. People no longer ran into each other, limiting meetings to formal ones at restaurants.
Progress? For many decades now, forward-looking communities everywhere have strived to save their village centers; new developments, where no center exists, deliberately build one. Sprawl is as dead as the nation’s dying shopping malls. I don’t live on Main Street but I enjoy walking from post office to store to library, to town offices (when they were still there). Why add to car traffic?
Let’s not waste money on a long-discredited concept. Sprawl is not green, not sustainable, not conducive to community building and not economical. It’s moving backward – not forward. I urge Castleton residents to vote against the proposed $1 million plus ballot to buy sprawl.
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