[Editor’s note: This spring, Southborough voters will be able to choose among five candidates for two seats on the Select Board. To help you make that decision, each candidate is invited to submit one letter to readers promoting their campaign. (To find other candidates’ letters click here.)
As in past years, you may use comments to endorse the candidate. No mudslinging allowed here.]
To the citizens of Southborough:
I respectfully ask for your vote, so I can become one of your Selectboard members, and thereby have the means to accomplish various tasks, that I believe will benefit all residents of our fine town. I will list these tasks at the end, after I have answered the question of WHO I am and why I am running.
I have lived in Southborough for 41 years. It is the first town we liked enough to set down our roots. I was born in Darjeeling, India, in sight of Mt Everest, during WW II, when my father was in the RAF. My family moved back to England in the 1950’s, where I eventually went to Cambridge University (Architecture BA and MA), and then I immigrated to America and went to Harvard (Urban Design) and Columbia (City Planning).
My work history started with the N.Y. State Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the planning of 3 entirely new “new towns”. One of these is Roosevelt Island, located on an island off Manhattan, NYC. I came to Boston in 1982 and worked for the State of MA as a manager of State construction projects (Courts, University buildings, hospitals, etc.). Next, I was city planner for the city of Marlborough and finally a development consultant.
We moved to Southborough in 1982 where my daughter Katrina went to our local schools. My wife Zena died of cancer in 1998.
I served on the Planning Board (helping to establish new landscaping regulations and Site Plan Review procedures. I also served on many other committees (e.g., Affordable Housing). I was then a Selectboard member for three terms, 1995-2004. During those nine years, we achieved three major projects: 1) We built three new schools; 2) we installed water mains throughout the northern part of town, near the new water supply tunnel serving Boston; 3) we installed several miles of new sidewalks connecting to the new train station.
After I left the Selectboard, I continued to be involved in certain projects—for example, supporting other residents who sought to reduce the excess scale of the new road, under the “Main Street Reconstruction Program”. We succeeded in reducing its impact with the support of the official Working Group, ably led by former Selectboard member Marty Healey, and former DPW Director John Boland.
Today I am running for Selectboard because certain urgent matters need more attention:
1) Affordable Housing—did you know that the Town must achieve a minimum of 10% affordable housing, before we can eliminate the threat of a State over-ride of our local zoning? It is possible to locate this affordable housing so that its impact can be mitigated, if we cooperate with developers in an appropriate manner. They are not necessarily our enemies (as some may initially think). They can be our partners.
2) North-South Road Connections—We need much better north-south connections across Rte. 9 particularly between our three schools along Parkerville Road. It makes no sense to drive north to get from Trottier and Neary schools to get to the south part of town, to Finn school, and vice versa. The solution could be a road bridge over Rte. 9 at Parkerville Road. This is not a pipe dream. We almost achieved this in the late 1990’s, when we had a powerful legislator in the State Speaker’s Office. The key is first to get town consensus on a workable plan with citizen participation, and then to get the plan approved and listed on the State Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), where it becomes eligible for state funding.
3) A new Southborough Arms traditional New England Inn—Did you know that the Southborough Arms once served as a famous watering hole between Boston and Worcester (until the 1970’s when it burned down)? It was a high-quality Inn with fine food and drink, located on the site of the present Professional Building at 11 Main Street. Maybe we can establish a new partnership between our private schools and the Town, to create an appropriate corporate structure, such as a not-for-profit educational corporation, authorized to build and operate hospitality functions, where the profit goes back to the schools and supports renewal of our downtown.
4) Tri-Centennial Park–This needs to be completed before 2027. Six months ago, I proposed a site which I think would be ideal for this park—on the southwest corner of Main and Rte. 85, opposite the library. The town bought this lot in order to expand the new road intersection, and the house is being used temporarily as an affordable rental managed by the Southborough Housing Authority. If we first provide alternative accommodations for the tenant in another apartment, then this site could be raised 6 feet up to street level, to provide a new platform for a “Jewel” of a small park situated along the heavily used sidewalk. When you drive past this corner, please take a look. Imagine what it can become.
5) Other Projects—the above are all NEW projects, but ongoing ones can be pursued meanwhile—such as revitalizing our historic downtown with additional businesses which can add character and attractiveness to our center.
Those are just some of my thoughts on what our town can possibly achieve, if we get together and agree on our goals.
Please help me to help you, to achieve these goals by voting on May 9th.
Address: 22 Main Street
As I write this, I am on a train in Ukraine, between Lviv and Kiev. My wife’s cousins live here, and it is probably my last chance to visit them.
YES, I know it sounds dangerous being in Ukraine, but it really isn’t .. it is very safe. This is because Ukraine is a very large country … In fact, your chances of being killed in Southborough are probably greater driving your car along Rt 9, than my chances of being killed by a missile. You still don’t believe me? Well, here is a fact — The Russian army is over 650 miles away … further away than the distance from Boston to Norfolk Naval Base iin Virginia ! If a missile was fired from Norfolk Naval base at New England, do you really think it would hit your house?
Update ….. I met 2 US ex Army about age 45 who were joining a fighting group of other US men. Totally fearless. Putting their professional skills to good use. Also a Ukrainian pilot who had been shot down in his helicopter on day 3 of the war. He was the sole survivor of 5, was then captured by the Russians, freed in prisoner exchange after two months. Sent to Germany hospital for leg medical work. After recovery in another 6 months he is going to apply to go back as a pilot
BACK TO AMERICA …
My message to you is very simple. Please remember to vote next Tuesday, May 9. The single place of voting is at Trottier School, open from 6.30 to 8 pm.
Below you will find a link to a video of my 3 minute presentation, explaining who I am and why I am running for The Selectboard.