Letter: “Newcomer’ — I’m a Warren resident too

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.
Paul Smith
21 Asselin St.

3 Comments

  1. Stevie said:

    Boo hoo they are calling me a “newcomer”. Well, should those who are not considered a “newcomer” start writing letters to the editor & crying about your insinuation as well as others including on the Town Council ( you know the ones that huff & puff and look like they are taking time out of their busy schedule to educate us ) with their holier than than though attitude that we are UN- EDUCATED ! Hey…some of us still have to buy our cakes at Elsie’s bakery … we can’t all afford Pastiche !
    Take your “educated” comments and move to one of those other 13 towns you have lived in if it’s so much better there.

  2. Potholes said:

    Stevie hit the nail on the head!

    Plus I got a novel idea…why don’t we focus on getting all these stupid ART stores or “galleries” out of Warren? Sure they attract people to town but they only usually buy ART and ART is TAX FREE so therefore no revenue gained. Yes all the art galleries and stores are TAX FREE so we don’t make any money on those “businesses”

    Also, how can the restaurant Traffords on water street allow cars to park in specifically designated areas where it says permit required and none of those cars have permits? plus I’ve seen the fire department come in with their special hazards and fire personnel for marine calls and even fire vehicles cannot park anywhere this is mind boggling especially in emergencies where emergency equipment cannot park.

    Warren is a great place to live (yes I’ve lived here all 31 years) but we need to do something about all these artsy people and tree huggers. This is not the Warren that we’re used to. Anyone who has been here a long time knows what I’m talking about. Not to mention most new people don’t even realize we have an all volunteer fire department. People think we have a paid fire department, which is not the case. So all these new people can stop bitching about why the trucks are out, or how come people are washing vehicles at the fire stations, uh hello we don’t get paid. If you want a paid fire department it will cost roughly $1.6-1.8 million dollars between personnel, new equipment, station upgrades, and benefits. Some people just don’t realize what they got until it’s gone.

  3. sthompwarren said:

    As a candidate for Town Council this year and a “newcomer” in some people’s eyes myself I want to thank Mr. Smith for his letter. The bottom line here is that everyone who lives in Warren is a resident and we shouldn’t be drawing distinctions between various groups of people. Going down that road is dangerous and divisive and I think becomes a real problem when members of our government participate or encourage that behavior. I believe it’s fundamentally at odds with what it means to be in public service when we’re drawing distinctions among our own residents.

    At the core we all want the same things, a town we can afford to live in, fair taxes, a vibrant climate for business, a well functioning and lean government, good services and a school system we have confidence in.

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