Editorial: Burr’s Hill process was properly thorough

Posted 8/17/22

Warren residents should treat this new facility like the gift that it is.

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Editorial: Burr’s Hill process was properly thorough

Posted

Although there are plenty of readers who are sure to disagree, we felt it prudent to call attention to the effective public process that went into the ultimate approval of a recreational facility at Burr’s Hill Park.

The old expression “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is essentially a cautionary phrase meant to encourage a sense of rationalistic perspective when it comes to getting something for free, and it fits this situation aptly.

Warren taxpayers are not on the hook for this facility, which is being paid for by a grant. There is a clear need for the facility in the park, both for kids who participate in the summer camp program and as a place for patrons of popular summer activities to use the facilities and get a bottle of water when the sun starts beating down on the field near the band shell.

Concerns that the facility will negatively impact nearby property values don’t hold up to scrutiny. In fact, we would argue that a more well-equipped, well-attended, and appreciated public park would be of nothing but a benefit to property values in the area.

Other concerns, such as the facility becoming a blank canvas for youthful ne'er-do-wells to find new ways to cause trouble, is not solid enough to warrant scrapping the idea entirely. Indeed, if our ancestors avoided building anything out of a fear that kids might vandalize or destroy it, we would never have advanced beyond the Stone Age.

Residents of Warren should be encouraged, not discouraged, that town officials went to the lengths they did to try and satisfy their concerns before ultimately approving this concept. The plan that was approved last week is a clear improvement over the universally-derived preliminary concept that was floated nearly five months ago. The town held three separate public gatherings to compile feedback and find something that was more acceptable, all while knowing their gift horse had an expiration date looming in the near future.

But some concerns of abutters are certainly valid. Chief among those is the concern over upkeep of the new facility. Town officials must be ready and willing to allocate resources to keep these structures looking nice, properly landscaped, and clean, otherwise they will fall into disrepair and not reflect their original purpose as a needed upgrade at one of the town’s most popular destinations.

This responsibility does not simply fall on our government and its employees, however. Each resident who attends and enjoys the park and this new facility must become stewards of its good health. Treat it with respect and encourage others to do the same. It is a gift after all. And whether it’s what you wanted or not, it should be appreciated accordingly.

2022 by East Bay Media Group

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.