Letter: David Parry for Board of Selectmen

[Ed note: My Southborough invited each candidate for a contested position in the annual town election to submit a letter to voters.]

To the Editor:

First let me thank the editor for granting the Candidates the privilege of presenting their message to the voters of Southborough.

I have been your Selectman before, for three 3 year terms from 1995 to 2005. I was also an elected Planning Board Member for two terms. We accomplished a great deal. The population was only 2,500, but we had very fast growth and many big projects, including giant MWRA tunnels, the new MBTA station, several Comprehensive Permits for large affordable housing rental projects, threatening our small town, and a massive need for more school space.

All problems were solved. Just as the problems we face to day can be solved.

I quit after my wife died, and had to bring up my 10 year old daughter alone. My wife was a professor at the Russian Resarch Center at Harvard, and my daughter is now working professionally in London and is 30 years old — so that l am again free to pursue my interests again.

I pledge, if you elect me as your Selectman, to be balanced, fair, transparently open, with zero conflict of interest. I held to that standard for nine years before, when I was your Selectman, and for several years as a Planning Board Member, and I will continue to uphold those high standards in future.

I will have maximum citizen participation in public affairs, meaning that residents get to DECIDE on the solutions, not just give their opinions. I will give you an example. Take the downtown business block of Main Street, which is the one block with businesses, from Park St to East Main St. There are plenty of businessmen in that area who are more than capable of examining the options and deciding amongst themselves how the block should be designed. Leave it to them, not to DPW. The existing “Working Group” of residents can still manage the overall State funded area, all of which is west of the downtown commercial block, but this one block needs special treatment, and who better to design it than the businessmen themselves. They know what they want == more business and more businesses — so let them free to decide how to attract clients and smarten up the block with new pavement treatments and signage and lighting. They can make it a showcase and I am very confident of their abilities to make the right decisions. THAT IS REAL CITIZEN PARTICIPATION.

(Meaningful participation can be far more than the current system of allowing residents to make comments for one minute each, at a meeting run by others, and walking out wondering if anyone heard you or even cares).

In the intervening years, I have enjoyed being a non-Selectman — because it allowed me to lead strong opposition to highly undesirable projects UNTIL they were modified – as for example, the giant Main Street Reconstruction project, BEFORE it was drastically cut back AFTER the Selectman finally caved in and established a citizen run “Working Group” to take command away from DPW, and hand it over to residents. Then we got some REAL decisions to “tame” it, reduce its scale, and make it appropriate to our beautiful, small scale historic downtown.

I also enjoyed being part of an incredible team, to move the Public Safety Complex to a new site on the golf course, and then modify the golf course layout so that the course can continue in operation, in future as a municipal golf course. I did a large part of the site layout, with advice from a world expert course designer, Brian Silva. I personally put in the warrant Article for the “CR”, or Conservation Restrictions, which were essential to save the golf course forever – in perpetuity. Note that this was a RADICAL CHANGE from the Selectmen’s PRIOR concept of using the course land as a “Municipal Facilities Campus”, full of potential ugly buildings and parking lots. That would have been one of the most UNdesirable futures you could imagine. And highly inappropriate in our historic town with its beautiful rural character and magnificent scenic views across the manicured golf course.

Which leads to one request – please vote YES for the 2 1/2 override, on Tuesday . It is the right building and it is on the right site, and will be screened from the modified golf course, so that both can exist in harmony, and with the potentially beautiful and historic town center. Now we will have a new Public Safety Complex and a municipal golf course, forever. That is the kind of vision we need for this town. Save our heritage and its uniqueness.

I have many other ideas for long range planning, such as resolving the congestion on Rt 9 by making a bridge in Fayville, paid for by the State, so the Rt 9 passes under Central St and Oak Hill Rd. We need better connections between the north and south sides of our town.

These are just examples. I am an architect and City Planner and I know how to get these complex projects planned and proved and funded.

I ask for your vote, and I will work hard for you.

Thank you.

David Parry

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