See the “Discussions” page for links to the related Bedford Citizen Facebook threads.
The failure of the Finance Committee to reach the number of votes required to recommend approval or disapproval of the
Petitioners Articles underscores the fact that there are indeed very good reasons to question the wisdom of the current course.
These excerpts from Select Board executive session minutes that were finally released shed light on the selection process.
See “Supporting Documents” page for the source documents.
In his third Letter to the Editor, Mr. Corey examined a number of other drawbacks to the current site for the new fire station that were not brought to citizens’ attention before the 3/29/22 vote. That letter seems to have fallen between the cracks at the Citizen. But his conclusion is repeated here:
Come to the Special Town Meeting on November 14th and hear why 139 The Great Road is not the bargain it is represented to be.
In his second of three Letters to the Editor, Don Corey explores why the need for a substation must be factored into plans for a central fire station now.
The Bedford Citizen report on the Finance Committee’s October 6th meeting included a review of the Fire Station discussion, but we think a more detailed analysis of what transpired will provide much-needed insight into good-faith objections to the current plan and the process that produced it.
It is time for the rubber to hit the road regarding the many reasons to object to the current fire station plan. It is important to note that while this site reflects the beliefs, opinions, and concerns of many Bedford residents and often uses the “we” voice to convey that, I am solely accountable for its content.
Since Bedford Day, I have engaged in a number of online threads and found that they generate a lot more heat than light. There is much faulty information being circulated that isn’t constructive. Being offensive will not take Bedford any closer to the new fire station the town and its great team of firefighters and emergency responders deserve. We believe that is what everyone cares about and achieving that is the sole reason for this site.
Now that the Special Town Meeting Warrant has been closed and the two articles submitted by longtime resident, historian, and public servant Don Corey will be voted on and passed or rejected on a 50/50 basis on November 14th, it is vital to understand what is at stake and not just repeat talking points. The issues will be handled in depth under the Questions and Answers tab, but I will address one of them here.
The reason that Save Our Block was the name chosen for this website, as explained in the essay below, is to emphasize that the Bacon “carriage house” is not what is chiefly threatened. What is most in danger is not a house or even a block, but the historic character and civic integrity of the town itself. Briefly:
1) Grading 139 Great Road and replacing the lawn with a cement pad would be an eyesore, no matter how carefully the facility is designed or how many experts are consulted. There is simply no reason to do that before considering the alternatives to such a radical move.
2) The selection process was irregular, to say the least. It may well have been one more casualty of Covid, but the details that will follow are incontestable and require attention.
3) The language of the State Legislature’s “Act of 1964” that established the Historic District Commission does not give the Commission any authority to override the blatant in- “appropriateness” of the project. Efforts to bring political pressure to bear on the Commission are profoundly unsettling.
Not everyone will recognize the triple threat posed to the town by this project but we hope that at least fifty percent of the voters plus one will. We will examine each factor closely in the Q and A section and are very confident that over the next six weeks there will be a shift in perception.
When preconceptions are removed from the examination and discussion it becomes clear that there are much better ways to meet Bedford’s urgent need for an exceptional fire station that can be implemented far sooner than the current proposal. Why would anyone object to that? –Margaret Donovan 10/1/22
This site is being launched to support the community, not to further divide it. We hope that sharing important information that is now lacking and presenting a fresh perspective will lead visitors to test their assumptions before deciding if the current fire station plan really is the only thing we can or should do.
That is why we adopted the symbolism of the fieldstone wall at 139 The Great Road. It is a retaining wall. It doesn’t divide — it supports. And it connects the future to the past. A dozen generations have walked past it on their way to school or work or the market. Men who went off to fight in the Civil War might have climbed on it as children. It is a fixture of the town itself.
But focusing on only the house and wall misses what is most at stake. We think the fire station would ruin the visual integrity of one of Bedford Center’s key blocks because architects may design a suitable building, but they will never be able to integrate it — and a concrete front yard — into that gracious block.
If this location actually is the right thing for Bedford, it will hold up under more scrutiny than has been brought to bear on it so far. We know that 268 residents out of thousands of eligible voters think it’s the right thing. But if it’s not, it could become the worst mistake in town history.
It is cavalier to suggest that the current plan “meets Bedford’s needs” — because a solution that pleases some of the people and deeply saddens many others is not a solution. It is a breach — that can only be healed by shining more light on the issues that have not been addressed.
At Town Meeting, a member of the Historic District Commission read that body’s official statement during the public comments. It is too bad the Commission wasn’t given a platform before the vote to educate voters as to the limits on the discretionary powers granted to them under the legislative Acts of 1964.
This is a perfect example of why people worked hard during a time of rapid expansion to establish a Historic District. They realized that only a body vested with the power to protect the town’s intrinsic value could withstand urgent, short-term pressures and require solutions that honor both the past and present.
The location of the new fire station is one of the most consequential decisions Bedford’s townspeople will ever make. If everyone will examine and consider the information to be offered here, while there is still time to correct course, we are much more likely to find a solution we can all embrace.
A “stakeholder” is anyone with something at risk when a policy is being discussed. In this case, that is everyone whose heart is invested in this unique and precious town. We’re all rooting for the same team. No one wants to see a mistake made that cannot be undone.