Stop the Urbanization of Harvard’s Historic Town Center!

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Trevor Smedley
Trevor Smedley signed this petition

Harvard Common was laid out when the town was founded in 1732; the Town Center was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Despite some changes in the last 287 years, it has remained a quintessentially beautiful, rural New England town center. That is now at risk! On Dec. 3. the Select Board plans to vote on proceeding with a project that will functionally “urbanize” our town center. 
 
The people who put this plan together sought public input in formulating initial goals and ideas for possible safety and accessibility improvements. But when it came time to develop a specific construction plan, public consultation stopped. That is, the critical details were developed without public input.
 
Town boards and committees that would normally have input on such projects have been shut out. A plan was drawn up and presented as final with no public design input, not even from the Harvard Historic Commission or Park and Rec, who clearly have relevant expertise.
 
If this plan is implemented the character of Harvard will be permanently changed for the worse. For example, two features of the plan are: a scored cement concrete truck apron and a sidewalk used as a buffer between parked and moving cars. There are much more suitable and attractive ways to achieve the intended safety goals of these elements.
 
With the input of some of the smart, talented, creative, people in Harvard, a better plan could be devised that meets all desired safety and accessibility goals, while maintaining the beauty and rural character of our town center. Such additional planning can take place rapidly, without impairing Harvard’s ability to obtain and spend the grant.
 
On Dec 3 we will be at the Select Board meeting. We will ask the board to delay the vote on the project until there has been an opportunity for public input and the consideration of multiple design alternatives.
 
Please join us at that meeting to make your voices heard along with ours. We will present this petition at that meeting.

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