To the editor:
At this time in my life, I have lived in nine states and two Canadian provinces for several years at a time. This includes living in 13 different towns or cities from smaller than Warren to larger than Providence (one was Jamestown, where my mother’s family resides). I have traveled through all but four states, and to several other countries around the world, now I am 67 years old and I’ve been settled in Warren since 2005 — which, you may note, means I have been here longer than my average stay in those other locations.
Sadly, I find that the recent insinuation that somehow I am in some way a “lesser,” or second class, citizen of this town — simply because I have been a traveler, rather than someone who has lived in one place all my life — a rather insulting, small-minded, and more than a bit offensive attitude. If anything, I would expect my opinions to be respected, if not welcomed, as having a wide range of experiences from living in these other places.
Yes, we “relative newcomers” are “from away” … and we do have different views than those a person who has barely traveled outside their home door would have. Curiously, among the people who have lived here for a long time I also find people with differences of opinions. Some townspeople I know are well traveled, some are well educated, and we all have different opinions: it’s part of being human. This mixture of opinions is a good thing, as it means a number of people coming at problems from different angles, some better than others due to experience or education.
Of some importance regarding the recent Town Financial Meeting, I have personal experience from working as the Development Engineer for a small town that grew from a rural population smaller than Warren, to a large mixed urban and rural population of well over 65,000 people. This growth would have been catastrophic without the advance planning and foresight of the Planning Department, people highly trained to guide development along lines that resulted in strong, integrated, complete, neighborhoods, rather than ad hoc bedroom developments and strip malls. The town Building Department was instrumental in ensuring that new construction met code and zoning requirements, including preservation of rural areas and usage. The Engineering Department developed and implemented modern standards for the urban construction, so that proper services were provided during this process. The overall plan included provisions for schools, fire stations, police stations, commercial areas and access for these services, through proper road and transportation designs (including pedestrian ways, bike paths and transit facilities), etc., resulting in an integrated total plan, one that also meshed seamlessly with surrounding towns and cities.
You cannot do this without educated, informed, dedicated help, help from strong Planning, Building, Engineering and other town departments, all working together to do the best they know how to do for the future of Warren. Without intelligent planning and foresight the town will grow by ad hoc sprawl with little attention to the integration of overall needs.
If you don’t know what these dedicated people do for the town, then it is incumbent on you to educate yourself, before making any rash decisions based on uninformed opinions and emotional appeals. Metacom Avenue is a prime example of the type of unplanned growth you get without such help.
Now, I have bought a house here to retire in and I intend to stay, because Warren is currently an attractive town to live in, a place where I have felt comfortable, safe and welcome, a town that is evolving with the times, for good or bad (depending on how it is planned). That should be all that is required of any resident of this town.
21 Asselin St.
To the editor: