Riverfront story more a slick piece of marketing than anything like journalism

BRATTLEBORO — This article on the highly questionable projects that stand to do significant damage to the bottom of Main Street/riverfront area reads far more like a slick piece of marketing than anything like journalism. Where are the opposing voices?

Especially ironic and absurd are statements to the effect that these “improvements” to “this long-neglected part of Brattleboro” will somehow open up access to the river, when in fact they'll do the opposite.

The bridge that New Hampshire is forcing on Brattleboro not only will not help the downtown traffic issues to any significant degree but will eat up the precious open space so many of us value while using 20 to 30 times the amount of materials to build as the old bridges, which were sufficient to get traffic across the river for 100 years. Is this progress? It looks to me like a mid-20th-century approach to our 21st-century needs. But, well, New Hampshire owns the river, so….

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center has been a great presence in our town for decades; I'm not sure what could be possessing them to engage in a proposal of such overreach as that of the “extension.”

As for the Amtrak station, does it really take $5 million to provide access for mobility-challenged people (something that we obviously should all support) and a way for passengers in general to comfortably embark and disembark? Tim Byrne's recent letter [“In Rutland, you board Amtrak at train level,” Letters, Jan. 6] seems to support the efficacy of a modest construction in a small town from the point of view of a mobility-challenged family.

All of these share the characteristic of being grossly bloated and wasteful ideas with far too much footprint and dubious benefit. You're taking that space from all of us; among other things for example, these projects if realized will take away the few remaining views of the mountain from downtown. Not to mention the environmental impact of four or five years of continuous construction in and around the river and Whetstone Brook, and the long-term effect of increased speed of vehicle traffic.

All of these can be, and some have already been, debated at great length in arenas including but not limited to this one, and I hope they will continue to be, but my larger point here is: Why is The Commons acting as a salesperson for developers? Of course they market their proposals in terms of public benefit; after all, they know their target market here in civic-minded “The One and Only Brattleboro” (“All of Vermont, Close to Home”).

The “empty” space that's on these people's chopping block is the very “commons” the title of the paper purports to represent.

Who are we selling ourselves to now, and, while we're at it, what is the mission of this paper, really?

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates